By: Dale Russell
ATLANTA – With Mayor Kasim Reed leaving office last year his chief of staff, Candace Byrd, went on a whirlwind travel binge around the globe.
The FOX 5 I-Team obtained her credit card bills for the last 9 months of his term and found she spent more than $90,000 – most of it on her own travel.
Candace Byrd was Mayor Reed’s law school friend and his chief of staff for 8 years. We found she traveled for the city often, and often on the most expensive “first class” type ticket Delta sells.
Earlier, we told you how we examined 27 months of Byrd’s credit card expenditures and found she took 34 trips. More than one a month. Destinations like Cuba, South Africa, Tokyo, Barcelona, London, Nassau and 5 trips to New York City, 4 to Washington DC, and 2 to Los Angeles.
She often flew on the most expensive ticket Delta sells. Like this her class Delta ticket for the 2-hour flight to Havana at a cost of $1704 – according to Mayor Reed’s staff.
So, we wanted to know what did Candace Byrd do her final 9 months on the job? She certainly didn’t slow down. We found she spent more than $30,000 on city travel costs for other people. And, $60,000 more on her own travel.
Candace Byrd took at least 14 flights – more than once a month – with destinations that read like a travel blogger’s bucket list. And overseas as well: Havana, Cape Town, Havana again, Munich, India, and Barcelona. Often she flew on the most expensive first-class style tickets costing $10,116, $10,968, even one $13,120 to Barcelona.
“That’s a lot of international travel, especially the last six months you are working for the mayor, says Sara Henderson.
She is director of good government group, Common Cause.
“I would like to see a justification for all these trips.”
Documentation for those trips was slim, but we did see Candace Byrd paid for airfare for her niece, who was a legislative assistant to Mayor Reed, to Norway. Mayor was a featured speaker for The Global Parliament of Mayors conference.
Byrd also paid for another overseas trip for her niece to New Delhi, India.
“That’s her credit card. It should be everything for her. The fact she used it for a trip for her niece who also works for the city, optically, looks horrible,” says Henderson.
Candace Byrd also charged the taxpayers $2450 for a Harvard business course.
All in all, she spent more than $60,404 on all her travel costs. That’s flights, meals, and top-rated hotels like the Four Season in Miami and Cape Grace Waterfront Hotel.
“It’s unbelievable truly unbelievable. Voters citizens should be appalled they really should be,” said Henderson.
We could not reach Ms. Byrd for comment. She is no longer with the city. A spokesman for Mayor Keisha Lance bottoms told us: “We will not speculate on the decisions made by the previous Administration with regards to its expenditures.”