For the first time, the chief executive of the Beltline is talking about a controversy over the questionable spending of taxpayer money.
CEO Brian Leary apologized Thursday in front of the mayor and other city leaders.
Channel 2’s John Bachman was there as Leary said he is sorry for the distraction this investigation has caused. He said it won't happen again.
"I want to sincerely apologize that many minds that aren't able to focus on the tremendous work that's been completed by this team, that's under way right now, but rather what we're fixing operationally," Leary said.
Leary admitted he hasn't been sleeping well since news broke about an audit of Beltline expense reimbursements.
Channel 2 Action News obtained pictures of receipts which show expensive dinners, including alcohol, and a wedding gift. They were all submitted for reimbursement by taxpayer money.
Once the audit started showing problems, Invest Atlanta, which oversees the Beltline, ordered the audit. The Beltline has since paid back $750 to taxpayers for questionable spending, and written a specific policy to keep it from happening again.
"The development of the policy that will make sure that none of the things that are in question right now will ever occur again,” Leary said. "Our organizations have been performing reasonably well, with the exception of the most recent challenges we're having, acknowledging that we need to deal with that, but we're not going to turn this organization into an entity that's in turmoil."
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is the chairman of Invest Atlanta's board, which is still investigating Beltline expense receipts. Reed also sits on the Beltline board, which called a special meeting for Friday. They're expected to discuss Leary's job status in the executive session.