ATLANTA - In 2014, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard wrote a letter to Mayor Kasim Reed asking for a supplement to his prosecutor's salary.
It kicked off a series of exchanges and crime fighting plans that ended with the City of Atlanta granting two $125,000 checks to Howard's office during the next three years.
According to a letter written after the first check arrived, Howard told Mayor Kasim Reed the money would be "administered by a nonprofit entity run by the District Attorney's Office entitled People Partnering for Progress."
PPP's records indicate Howard used a minimum of $140,000 of the grant money to supplement his salary. Howard, in a written statement, said the rest of the money went to crime fighting programs like keeping repeat Criminal Offenders off the streets.
When the salary arrangement was first reported by the AJC and WSB, the state Ethics Department and GBI launched an investigation.
City Council President Felicia Moore was a council member when the salary boost took place. She went back to check legislation and could find no sign of the money being approved by the council.
"I went to search because maybe I voted or something I didn't remember," said Moore.
She could not find the money in any budget or find any vote by council on the issue.
Then, we began researching the issue and based on our findings asked Council President Moore her to search amendments to the 2014 budget. She did. And, found the document that told the story.
Buried deep in the bowels of city clerks office was an amendment to the Police budget offered by then council man C.T. Martin. It spells out $125,000 for CERT funds. That's Citizens Emergency Response Team. It was voted on by the council and passed 14-0.
I asked: What would you have voted if you knew some of that money was going to supplement the slary of the DA?
"I would have voted no. I think many other mebers would have voted no as well," said Moore.
People Partnering for Progress tax records show Howard increased his salary through the non profit by $50,000 the first year and $20,000 the next after getting the check.
The city cut another check to Howard's office in 2017 for $125,000. According to his non profit, he was paid an additional $70,000 in salary out of that money.
"I am surpirsed by it, it really kind of bothers you. I certainly don't like not having approval of something that is not how it is presented, said Moore.
We asked Council President Moore to check the 2015 and 16 budget amendments. She found no sign of the source of the second $125,000 check.