SALUDA — Saluda town administrator Tom Brooks said he did not have any information or comments about the circumstances surrounding the death of Mayor Frank Addy Jr. but said Addy would be missed.
“He cared a great deal for our town and our citizens,” Brooks said. “He worked very hard each day for the people in this town. We were very fortunate to have him as a leader, and he’ll be deeply missed by many people. Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with his family.”
Officials say the 58-year-old mayor killed himself at a family home in Newbery County on Sunday, the same day a newspaper published a story questioning almost $38,000 in mileage reimbursements he received from the town.
Addy was found dead Sunday morning from a gunshot to the head at a home on Lake Greenwood, Newberry County Coroner Craig Newton said.
Newton ruled the death a suicide. He said he is helping deputies as they continue to investigate the death.
The State Law Enforcement Division was investigating Addy based in part on a February story in The Index-Journal of Greenwood, which found the mayor claimed nearly $27,000 in travel reimbursements in 2012, more than triple what he spent the year before. Saluda reimburses Addy 55 cents a mile for his travel, which comes out to driving more than 48,000 miles last year.
Addy claimed $8,800 for travel in 2011 and $2,300 in 2010.
Addy told the newspaper at the time that he made most of the trips in a day, so he doesn’t have hotel or gas station receipts. He also said he couldn’t identify his destinations or the businesses he visited because the town keeps that information confidential.
In Sunday’s story, the newspaper contacted several fast-food chains, rural rehabilitation boards, warehousing businesses and other organizations Addy listed on the expense vouchers he submitted with the town. None recalled meeting with the mayor.
On two vouchers, Addy listed his destination as “Rural Rehabilitation Meetings” in Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta. Addy’s name did not appear on the sign in sheet for the Nov. 15 meeting in North Carolina, and the Georgia meeting appeared to have never happened.
Thomas Carter, who was the assistant executive director for the Georgia Development Authority, said he did not recall meeting with anyone Nov. 23.
“The previous executive director also told me he did not have a recollection of a meeting with Mr. Addy,” Carter said. “That day, which would have been the Friday after Thanksgiving, we were out on state holiday.”
The newspaper reported that it asked Addy for an interview several times before publishing Sunday’s story. Addy postponed meetings several times, saying he was in ill health, then said he wasn’t going to talk until SLED finished its investigation.
“I’m just going to try and get through it,” Addy said.
State staff writer Bertram Rantin contributed.