Mayor spends taxpayers’ money on food, big tips

SOUTHAVEN — Receipts show Southaven Mayor Greg Davis often left generous tips when he was charging meals and drinks to the city.

Mississippi Auditor Stacey Pickering has demanded Davis repay more than $170,000 for personal expenses billed to taxpayers. The Commercial Appeal used a Freedom of Information request to obtain Davis’ receipts that the auditor gave Southaven officials.

The newspaper reports Davis left a $100 tip for a $38 dinner of grilled fish and a martini this past June at Mesquite Chop House in Southaven. A month later, he bought a $37 round of beers at the restaurant and tipped $100.

After a dinner for legislators and attorneys at Mint Restaurant in Ridgeland, Davis left a $1,000 tip on a $2,509 bill. That dinner included two bottles of Opus One wine for $415 each.

The Commercial Appeal reported by this past Friday, Davis had repaid about $96,000. Southaven aldermen originally approved paying Davis’ expenses and now say they’re reviewing hundreds of pages of the documents to see whether some of the receipts were for legitimate city business.

Aldermen say they expect to go into executive session tomorrow night to discuss Davis’ receipts.

The auditor’s office confirmed to The Associated Press last Friday that Davis billed the city for the $67 purchase at Priape, which describes itself on its website as “Canada’s premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop.”

Davis, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008 as a social and fiscal conservative.

He has declined to comment on the expenses, saying his attorney had told him not to talk.

The 45-year-old mayor, who divorced this year, said he doesn’t remember what he bought at the sex shop, which he visited on a recruitment trip with warehouse developers. He told The Commercial Appeal this past Thursday that he is gay, the first time he has said so publicly.

Southaven is a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., and has grown rapidly in recent years. With a 2010 population of 48,982, it is now Mississippi’s third-largest city.

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