Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Thursday, July 7, 2016

High on the hog, or traveling in style

Last night, Niccole Caan and Kendra Hall of the ABC7 Amarillo investigative team told viewers watching the 10 p.m. broadcast the reimbursements to former CEO Richard “Buzz” David, and current Senior VP of Business Development Brian Jennings for their miscellaneous expenses. On tonight’s Nightside, ABC7 Amarillo reported on how these top two executives traveled high on the hog, spending for top-of-the-line booze, lavish meals, swanky hotel rooms, golf outings and more.

The ABC7 Amarillo team flagged high-dollar items or receipts that were obviously for luxury or upscale facilities. Examples of those items include $931 of taxpayer dollars at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas with enough documentation to show an up-sell to a room with a view, cappuccinos in the lobby and a resort fee.

The most expensive meal the investigative team found was a reimbursement to Jennings on a date and at a restaurant the team couldn’t identify from the quality of the copy of the paperwork the reporters had requested under the Texas Inspection of Public Records Act. That $672 for seven guests was a true wine-and-dine, with orders of crab legs, filet mignon and 11 top-of-the-line alcoholic beverages.

672 by George Schwarz on Scribd

David’s $644 tab on June 12, 2014 at Paesanos Ristaurante, San Antonio, was a close second.

While several of the lodging receipts topped $1,000, the single largest amount was in April 2014 when Jennings was reimbursed more than $1,600 for hotel, clothing and golf at the famous golfing venue in North Carolina — Pinehurst 1895. David also has a similar receipt from Pinehurst for $879.

Thousands of taxpayer dollars reimbursed to David, and Jennings, were made on the basis of hand-written “receipts” and receipts with no backup or itemization.

Those hand-scribbled “receipts,” many on David’s business cards, AEDC notepaper or plain paper filled out in either David’s or Jennings’ handwriting, exceeded $1,000 from 2013 until now. The most expensive of these was David’s $140 note “a service charge.”

Although the ABC7 Amarillo team found a few documents that could be linked some expenses to conferences or trade shows, most lacked any link to a project or client. And, few receipts had itemization or even reflected the number of people attending the meals.