Audit of Charleston Mayor finds some spending questionable and not serving a public purpose

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON S.C. (WCBD)— The initial findings are in from an audit over alleged improper spending by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

This audit was requested by the city council back in May after the mayor was accused of using city funds to add his wife’s name to business cards.

At an Audit Committee meeting, Monday night, at City Hall Council Chambers the details of the findings were presented. 

“I think that the internal auditor did exactly what city council has asked for,” Mike Seekings Chair of Audit Committee, City of Charleston, said.

An internal auditor examined expenses from the Mayor’s office from 2016 to the present date— finding some of the Mayor’s expenses did not serve a public purpose.

Several financial transactions for business cards for non-city personnel, including Mayor Tecklenburg’s personal 2-sided business card with his wife’s name on it, totaled more than $950 dollars. This was deemed not a proper use of city funds by the audit.

Mike Seekings, Chair of the Audit Committee stated that the public needs to know how their tax dollars are being spent.

He says, “The public has a right to know about every dime that’s spent in the public realm. Those are monies that are collected from the public, spent for the public benefit, and they need to be spent for the public benefit”.

The Audit Committee brought in an Independent Audit Attorney, Michael Burchstead, Former General Counsel for S.C. Ethics Commission, to oversee any legal implications of the Mayor’s spending.

He says, “I found no self-dealing by the mayor or any actions or conduct showing the Mayor or Mrs. Tecklenburg have personally financially benefited from their actions. No action of Mayor Tecklenburg or his family appears to be borne out of desire to use the office of the mayor for financial gain, but rather hey appear to be motivated by their interest in representing the citizens of the city.”

Mayor Tecklenburg’s office is speaking out about the audit saying “Policy disagreements are not ethical issues. Under Charleston’s strong mayor” form of government, the mayor has broad latitude to make management decisions regarding city policies and procedures, including those related to personnel, contracting, and what information is printed on his business cards. Disagreements resulting from those decisions are not ethical issues.

The full audit is expected to be presented to the committee on Thursday, July 25th

For more information on the initial Mayor’s Audit results, click here.

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