Beltline Chief Ousted for Expenditures
ATLANTA (AJC/WAOK) – Atlanta Beltline Inc.’s president and chief executive Brian Leary is leaving the organization after questionable expenditures of taxpayer money on alcohol, wedding gifts and other items came to light.
The board of directors for the Beltline urban renewal project met today to discuss policies and procedures after a city audit highlighted Leary’s stewardship of the massive development project, which has attracted more than $337 million. The effort to build a 22-mile loop of trails, parks, transit, affordable housing and other improvements around the city is slated to be completed in 2031.
A review by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found a series of taxpayer-funded credit card expenses with a questionable link to the project’s main work.
The Beltline repaid the city for some expenses such as a bottle of champagne purchased from a South Pacific resort, gift of a wine holder for Leary’s fiancée, as well as Leary’s parking ticket and dry cleaning bill.
Other expenses, including a $21,000 bill for food at a Braves game, have not been reimbursed.
Invest Atlanta, which oversees the Beltline project, has now clarified the policies on allowed expenses.
The Beltline’s board voted unanimously on Friday to end Brian Leary’s contract at the end of the month.