Updated: Thursday, 27 May 2010, 10:51 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 24 Aug 2009, 8:00 PM EDT
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Mayor James Holley, who has refused to bow to pressures from city leaders and residents to step down, is not about to give up his lofty post -- or the perks that come with it.
WAVY.com obtained the mayor's travel expense records for 2008 and 2009 through the Freedom of Information Act. The documents show the mayor used his city credit card to pay for things like limo service, lavish hotels, even a trip to a spa. Portsmouth taxpayers foot the bill for the mayor's credit card.
The controversial city leader has come under fire recently for ordering his secretary to handle his personal chores, then berating her if she failed to complete them. Earlier this month, Portsmouth City Council voted and formally asked the mayor to resign, but he refused.
In researching the mayor's travel expenses, WAVY.com has discovered Mayor Holley took a trip to Miami in June 2008 for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The city paid for the mayor and his wife, Mary, to go on the 5-day trip at a cost of $3,543.76, including airfare for both of them. In addition to the meals provided by the conference, the mayor put $540 worth of other meals for him and his wife on his city credit card, including a $70 breakfast.
In October 2008, the mayor and his wife jetted off to Palm Beach for a conference of mayors. A 3-night stay in the resort cost the city $1,365.33.
Mayor Holley has also repeatedly used Airport Express International in Norfolk for limo service to and from the airport, according to his expense reports. That costs $80 each way and is paid for using his city credit card.
Mayor Holley and his wife also flew to Key West and Fort Lauderdale for a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in February 2008. The hotel stay alone for that trip cost taxpayers $1,012.89 for three nights. That same month, Mayor Holley spent one night in Richmond at the Berkeley Hotel and charged $332.03 to his city credit card. The reason for that travel expense was not clear in the records.
In 2009, despite an $8.2 million budget shortfall and city employee layoffs and furloughs, the recession didn't seem to impact the mayor's travels.
In June, Mayor Holley and his wife flew to Providence, Rhode Island for another conference. That five-night trip cost Portsmouth taxpayers $2,482.61.
The First Couple of Portsmouth also spent five nights in Washington D.C. for a mayors conference in January. That cost $1,987.14. One night on that trip the Holley's ordered room service for $90 on the city credit card.
Also, during a September 2008 conference at Kingsmill in Williamsburg, there is a charge for "spa services" for $23.20 on the mayor's city credit card.
This past February, according to Holley's expense report, the mayor attended a one-day conference in D.C. that cost taxpayers $528.89 including hotel and gas mileage.
All total, Mayor Holley and his wife spent more than $14,000 worth of travel expenses in the last year and a half.
Also, according to the city documents, the mayor, in a couple of cases, asked for and received city council approval before taking some of the trips.
WAVY.com placed several calls to city leaders including the city manager and the mayor Monday and were not able to reach anyone for comment.
Opinions that are derogatory, attack other users or are offensive in nature may be removed. WAVY is not responsible for the content posted in this comment section. We reserve the right to remove any offensive or off-topic remark or thread. To mark a comment for review by a moderator, click "Flag as inappropriate."