Flint City Council member: investigate city credit card spending
Tue, May 23, 2023 11:08 AM
By Scott McClallen, The Center Square
Former Downtown Development Director Kiaira May a public servant allegedly ran up a $4,302 tab on a city government credit card for “extravagant and unnecessary indulgences.”
The City of Flint says Downtown Development Director Kiaira May resigned effective May 12.
Mayor Sheldon Neeley commended May for her service.
“I wish Ms. May the very best in her new position and thank her for her service to the residents of Flint,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said in a statement. “As the first African American and youngest ever DDA Director, Ms. May successfully took on the challenge of making downtown Flint a more inclusive, welcoming place for our diverse community.”
However, 8th Ward City Council member Dennis Pfeiffer asked the city to investigate how May spent taxpayer dollars after he obtained receipts for May’s city-issued credit cards.
“In my relentless pursuit of transparency, I am deeply unsettled by the findings of my most recent investigation,” Pfieffer said in a letter to Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “It has come to light that while residents diligently fulfill their tax obligations and, in many cases, incur additional expenses to visit their downtown, our hard-earned money is being squandered on extravagant and unnecessary indulgences.”
Pfeiffer said Flint taxpayers bailed out the DDA in 2021 with $138,000 through a state-approved budget deficit plan. Pfieffer said that over 12 months, May “engaged in a shocking array of extravagant spending,”
“The evidence shows that this individual has enjoyed numerous nights in luxurious hotels [in the] city of Detroit, indulged in lavish weekend dinners, covered nail salon fees, expensed faux lash treatments, acquired souvenir hoodies from Mackinac Island, resumé building services, made an extensive list of purchases from Amazon, and even treated themselves to a stay at the opulent Westin Hotel on Thanksgiving,” Pfieffer wrote.
Pfieffer shared the credit card records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act with The Center Square. Some spending seems like typical city expenses, such as spending $4,200 for the Detroit Regional Chamber, $1,312 on cleaning services over eight transactions, $1,123 on Flint T-shirts, and $250 for a charity tournament.
However, other spending seemed less professional or harder to categorize, including:
$1,439 on Top Speed Motorsports.$419 on Amazon.$213 for cash advances over three transactions.$211 for eBay.$184 on Expedia.$176 on Mackinac Island purchases.$117 at Eight Ten Nail bar.$47.70 at Ella Jae Essentials skincare.
May spent heavily on food. Her credit card records show $490 over two transactions at Cork on Saginaw, $272.96 at Soggy Bottom Bar, $101.92 at Xolo in Flint, and $95 at Blackstone’s Smokehouse in Flint.
Pfieffer called on the city to preserve all records for further investigation.
“These revelations paint a grim picture of the misuse of funds and a severe lack of fiscal responsibility within the DDA," Pfieffer wrote. "As residents continue to fulfill their financial obligations, it is crucial that those in positions of power uphold the highest standards of integrity and judiciousness when handling public resources. The residents of Flint, having already endured the repercussions of the water crisis, deserve better. The need for transparency and accountability has never been more apparent, and it is imperative that swift and appropriate action be taken to rectify these glaring discrepancies.”
The City of Flint hasn’t responded to a request for comment. May also hasn't yet responded to a request for comment.