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Down the Money Trail

By the Numbers

Metro's investigation covered local restaurant and travel expenses during an 18-month period between July 1, 1995, and Dec. 31, 1996. For elected officials' meals costs, the figures cited are conservative estimates that reflect public money spent only at outside restaurants by city politicians and their aides. We didn't include money spent at the cafeteria inside City Hall, or food for community events or office meetings, in the total dollar amounts listed in the story. For fiscal year 1995­96 Metro relied on accounting summaries provided by the finance department; we counted only expenses explicitly identified as restaurant charges or to where a specific restaurant is cited. Metro examined hundreds of receipts, vendor payment invoices and petty cash reimbursements for the final six months of the study period. For City Manager Regina Williams, we examined meal costs charged to her city credit card.

Travel cost estimates, which include meals eaten abroad, are based on "statement of travel expenses" provided to Metro by the city clerk and finance department. Not included in Metro travel estimates for the mayor, council and city manager are junkets taken by their staff members or trips not paid for by the city or a city agency.

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From the April 10-16, 1997 issue of Metro

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