ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) – Two Glock handguns, two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, and red dot sight; those are the guns and attachments a federal grand jury identified in its search for records relating to Mayor Kasim Reed’s Chief Financial Officer, Jim Beard. It is the latest grand jury subpoena involving an ongoing criminal investigation at Atlanta City Hall.
“The guns. What do guns have to do with his service as CFO of Atlanta,” asked City Council President Felicia Moore.
Moore was stunned to hear a federal grand jury subpoena asked for records relating to guns linked to a former top city financial official, Jim Beard.
“It’s extraordinarily startling to actually see what they are asking about,” agreed Councilman Howard Shook.
The guns are listed in a federal grand jury subpoena that also demands city employment, pay, and ethics records as well as travel documents relating to Jim Beard.
The subpoena requested records relating to a Glock 19 “assigned to Beard” as well as a Glock 43, AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, and a “Micro T-2 Sight”
An Atlanta Police spokesperson said police never assigned a gun to Beard.
“I have no earthly idea why those weapons were purchased,” said Shook.
Beard has continuously found himself the subject of media and ethics commission scrutiny since he stepped down as the city’s top financial officer.
Last year, the FOX 5 I-Team examined Beard’s travel finding a disturbing pattern. The investigation found he paid for first class-style tickets like a $9,519 flight to Beijing, and $14,732 business class flight and hotel to Amsterdam for two city employees. Also, lavish hotel expenses, like $10,277 for the Shangri La, in Paris.
Last year, Beard repaid taxpayers for the Paris hotel after Atlanta area news organizations requested the records through the open records laws.
The Atlanta City Ethics Board opened an investigation and recently found 37 questionable expenses totaling $98,632 in former Beard’s city travel cards. The board voted to send the case to an enforcement hearing where Beard could face stiff financial penalties.
Now, the federal grand jury has requested those same travel documents, asking for all Beard’s travel records from 2014 to 2017.
Beard’s attorney, Scott Grubman, stated his client was “unaware of any wrongdoing by anyone at the City.” Grubman also wrote: “After over a year of overturning every rock and sorting through every haystack, the government has been unable to uncover one single piece of evidence against Mr. Beard.”
“It’s depressing. It’s just another tick of the federal clock – you just wonder when midnight is going to come,” said Shook.