An artist’s rendering of a portion of the proposed Atlanta BeltLine project. Source:

The board of the directors for the Atlanta BeltLine project on Aug. 17 removed its executive director after an investigation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution uncovered wasteful spending of taxpayer money.

In statement Chairman John Somerhalder said the board voted unanimously to end Brian Leary’s employment as chief executive. Chief Operating Officer Lisa Gordon will handle Leary’s duties on an interim basis, the statement said.

The statement does not reference the specific reasons for Leary’s departure. The AJC investigation found multiple examples of questionable expenses made by Leary, including money to pay a parking ticket, buy a wedding gift and money for food at a Brave’s game. To read the full article, click here.

The Atlanta BeltLine is a 22-mile loop around the city utilizing old rail lines.

Here is the full statement from Somerhalder:

The Atlanta BeltLine remains the single most compelling vision for the future of Atlanta. It came to fruition through deep, broad and passionate grassroots support that brought communities across this city together like never before. That foundation of public support is still the bedrock of the Atlanta BeltLine and remains the single most important element in moving the project forward. The progress we have made with the help of the community and our strong and numerous partners will continue as we realize this powerful vision for the future of our city.

To continue this great progress, the board has determined that it is in the best interest of the organization to make a change in leadership. Today, the board has unanimously agreed that Brian Leary will transition out of the organization by the end of this month. During that time he will assist the board in its planning efforts to transition to new leadership. Effective immediately, in her role as Chief Operating Officer, Lisa Gordon will lead the organization reporting to the board of directors in an interim capacity. The board will establish a process to search for a new President and CEO.

The board thanks Brian for his service and all of the accomplishments we have made as a team under his leadership. Since its inception in 2006, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. has worked under extremely challenging conditions to deliver significant portions of the project. The master plans, parks, trails, affordable housing, public art and foundational studies for transit would not have happened without strong public involvement and the commitment and dedication of an expert staff who believe as strongly in the vision of the project as anyone. Their work and progress will continue.

Invest Atlanta and Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. have strengthened policies regarding the expenditure of TAD funds that will ensure good stewardship of taxpayer money. As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must hold ourselves accountable and will not accept anything less than prudent, transparent and efficient use of public funds.

We celebrate the tremendous progress the Atlanta BeltLine has made and remain committed to moving the Atlanta BeltLine forward as quickly as possible, working with the Mayor, City Council, Invest Atlanta and all of our partners and stakeholders.