Power Breakfast: Elaborate airport send-off, new homebuilding strategy, Delta, Screen on Green, BP, Obama

An elaborate going-away party for Ben DeCosta, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, cost $22,418 and is now under a city ethics review, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.

For a June 7 dinner feting DeCosta at the Georgia International Convention Center, more than $10,000 was spent for catering, $1,200 for entertainment and a song created for the departing airport official, $6,000 for audio-visual needs, $856 for flowers and $3,000 for a program, banner, posters, souvenir booklets and signs, according to documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request.

Entertainment for the event included a tribute song to DeCosta entitled “Our GM” that was performed by Heather Hayes Experience; Hayes is the daughter of entertainer Isaac Hayes. DeCosta also was given a portrait of himself that cost $200, Yamanouchi reports.

The airport has said it did not use public funds for the 250-guest dinner, but questions surrounding the solicitation of sponsorship funds to pay for it from companies that do business with the airport prompted the office of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to ask the city ethics officer for a review.

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2 comments Add your comment

TnGelding

June 15th, 2010
3:13 pm

Good grief! With all the problems the city is facing wasting time and more money on this is absurd. It’s the way this class of “public servant” is feted. It’s great that he was so well liked and respected. Maybe they should investigate how he got a way?

RGW -Hotel Guy Atlanta

June 16th, 2010
10:27 am

While I feel bad about the timing of the event in light of the layoffs for economic reasons; Mr. DeCosta was a dynamic person that has done wonders for the Airport and the local economy. He was generous with his time and always supported the community and local businesses’ needs. It is very fitting to give a farewell party to a person after completing such a career. Nothing was gained by this from a vendor/contractor standpoint other than ensuring this man was thanked for all his hard work. Reasonably priced party and very fitting; hardly worth an investigative report.