Flood Warning issued September 21 at 8:56PM EDT expiring September 26 at 2:00PM EDT in effect for: Hillsborough
A federal audit has found that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been driving an SUV paid for with grant money for Republic National Convention security.
Auditors also say the city hasn't provided documentation for about $25,000 worth of overtime, salary and fringe benefits for which it received reimbursement.
The SUV should only be used for law enforcement purposes, according to an audit report released Wednesday.
The U.S. Justice Department auditors wrote that city officials said Buckhorn was using the vehicle.
“During two separate site visits to the city’s administration building, we observed the vehicle parked in the mayor’s reserved parking space … We also observed the mayor entering and exiting the vehicle on occasion,” the report says.
When auditors asked what type of law enforcement activity the SUV was used for, city officials responded the vehicle was usually driven by a police officer in the mayor’s security detail, the report says. It had also been used to escort visiting dignitaries.
The report says city officials said the mayor “occasionally” drove it himself.
“We recommend that the city ensure property purchased with grant funds is used only for criminal justice purposes,” the report says.
In response to questions from ABC Action News about the audit, the mayor's office deferred to the Tampa Police Department, which reiterated the city's explanation to auditors.
The audit, performed to determine whether the city complied with rules when submitting reimbursement claims for RNC security costs, concluded the city’s spending generally complied with the grant’s requirements.
The auditors wrote that the city should "remedy" the $25,192 in expenses the city failed provide proper documentation for.