A top University of West Georgia official is resigning, two months after his termination of a whistleblower cost taxpayers $272,000. A state audit in April found that university VP Michael Ruffner had improperly hired Capitol Hill lobbyists and questioned the firing of an assistant who complained about it.
Sen. Cecil Staton‘s broadcasting company paid Georgia Southern University more than $24,000 yesterday, just hours before he denounced a report that it had breached its contract to broadcast the school’s football games. Staton lashed out at a broadcast report on the matter as “the worst side of sloppy journalism.” He did not respond to questions about the check that he sent on the same day the story aired.
Twenty-one Georgia legislators accepted gifts valued at $5,000 or more from lobbyists last year. Led by Senate majority leader Chip Rogers, the 21 legislators accounted for 10 percent of the $1.5 million in lobbyist handouts last year. We’re talking gift baskets, food and drink, golf, sports and concert tickets, lodging and airfare. These are the lawmakers who can’t say no.
Which lobbyists would be hit hardest by a proposed ban on $100-plus gifts to Georgia legislators? Hint: Lobbyist Dene Herbert Sheheane and the others hand out a lot of tickets to ballgames.
Orange Bowl-loser Paul Johnson was only the second-highest-paid coach at Georgia Tech last year, state records show. Tech paid MaChelle Joseph, the women’s basketball coach, $8,100 more than Johnson in fiscal year 2009. Johnson collects much more overall, but state auditors show Joseph’s base salary ranked second, behind UGA’s Mark Richt, among all coaches at state universities. Wonder who else made the Top 10?
Rep. Mark Butler secretly taped conversations with University of West Georgia officials after they fired a lobbyist who was his former girlfriend, the Carrollton Times-Georgian reports. Butler later called the university to complain, telling a secretary that her boss “had just pissed off the whole political party firing Erin. This includes Speaker of the House, Rules Chairman and Senate.”
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 […]