DA investigates ex-Gwinnett commissioner's expense charges

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

Newton questioned expenses such as mileage to and from Christmas parties, undocumented lunches and a trip to see the Gwinnett Braves.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - A former Gwinnett County commissioner is under investigation for questionable use of his county expense account while he was in office.

Records show Mike Beaudreau outspent his eight fellow commissioners combined during his two terms in office.

The Gwinnett County district attorney told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh his investigation could lead to criminal charges.

Gwinnett County resident Joe Newton has questioned Beaudreau's use of his county expense account for months.

"These are not public expenses. They're not public events," Newton told Kavanaugh. "This should have been taken care of a long time ago."

He first filed an ethics complaint in June 2012, but a clause in the Gwinnett County ethics policy prevented investigations into incumbents seeking re-election six months prior to voting day.

Newton questioned expenses such as mileage to and from Christmas parties, undocumented lunches and a trip to see the Gwinnett Braves.

"I don't know how you can call going to a Christmas party county business. I don't know how you can call going to a funeral county business," said Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter.

Porter said he initially wasn't going to pursue an investigation because all of Beaudreau's expenses were approved by the county finance director.

However, he said his office obtained new information that has forced him to investigate if Beaudreau was breaking the law.

"There are forms that have to be signed under oath that say they're for county business. If those are false, then those become a criminal case," Porter said.

Kavanaugh obtained county records that show during his two terms as District 3 commissioner, Beaudreau racked up expenses of $22,797.25. The combined expenses for the eight other commissioners he served with during his two terms was $15,936.32.

"He should pay it back. It's our money," Newton said.

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