Whistleblower says city illegally used federal money to buy cars

ATLANTA — A former city worker has filed a lawsuit against the city accusing them of buying city vehicles used for Mayor Kasim Reed with federal funds set aside for police cars.

Channel 2's Dave Huddleston has been emailing and texting Reed's staff most of Tuesday afternoon. They tell Huddleston they have not been served with the lawsuit so they are unable to comment.

The accusations come on the heels of other problems at City Hall.

A former Atlanta Police Department manager said city officials illegally used federal dollars to buy the vehicles that chauffeur Reed and his family around the city.

These are the same vehicles Channel 2 Action News reported on in November that Reed uses with the blue lights and sirens to get around the city.

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Some state officials question if using the blue lights is legal. Reed said it's for security purposes.

The former police manager said shortly after she found the misuse of funds and told former chief George Turner about it, she was laid off -- and her position was eliminated.

On April 5, Tracy Woodard filed a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta.

Woodard said she also found Turner used federal dollars and drug-seizure money earmarked for special programs to pay for police officer overtime.

Huddleston was able to track down Woodard's attorney, Micah Barry.

He told Huddleston he couldn't do an interview without first talking with his client who wasn't available Tuesday, but said the lawsuit speaks for itself.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of an ongoing federal criminal investigation where two contractors are accused of paying $1 million in bribes to people of influence over city contracts.

The city's procurement officer was fired and the FBI took his computer and cellphone as part of the federal probe.

Woodard wants her job back with back pay and unspecified damages.

Sources within City Hall tell Huddleston she was let go for not reporting expenses and grant funds appropriately.