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  • atlanta mainstream

    Regent sold $76 million in cars to state — $9.8 million to universities

     

    Car dealer Allan Vigil (right) has sold $9.8 million of cars and trucks to the University System of Georgia, which he oversees as a member of the state Board of Regents, since 2002.

    That figure represents just a fraction of his dealerships’ $76 million in sales to state agencies in the past seven years, according to a recent disclosure filed with the Georgia Secretary of State.

    Georgia law requires state officials to report every business transaction with a state agency once a year. Violators could be fined up to $10,000 and removed from office.

    Since his appointment to the board, Vigil has disclosed that his dealerships sell cars to the state, but only once reported the dollar amount – $9.2 million in 2003.

    For 2007, Vigil’s disclosure reported sales to the state as “$0.00.” In fact, Vigil sold $8.5 million in cars to various state agencies that year, according to his disclosure.

    Vigil filed his amended disclosures on Jan. 20, about two weeks after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on some of the undisclosed sales. A computer analysis by the AJC showed state colleges and universities paid Vigil’s businesses at least $869,000 in 2007.

    In the cover letter filed with the Secretary of State, Vigil said he believes the transactions are exempt from disclosure because the sales were the result of sealed, competitive bidding.

    In fact, no transactions are exempt from disclosure. Georgia law says a state employee cannot do business with his own agency unless he submits a sealed bid.

    Vigil served as chairman of the Board of Regents from 2006 through 2008. His disclosure shows that his dealerships’ car sales to other state agencies fell sharply in those years. But the dealership’s sales to the University System nearly doubled from 2006 to 2007, and rose again slightly in 2008, according to his disclosure.

     

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