According to the Daily Southtown, Charles Flowers isn't the only one charging family trips on the taxpayers' dime.
Instead of an excursion to Mississippi - which Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education Supt. Charles Flowers purchased for his family on the regional office's credit card - Deputy Supt. Harry Reynolds seems to prefer the cool breeze and sandy beaches of San Diego.
More than $1,700 in charges appear on Reynolds' regional office of education credit card in June 2008 for himself and his wife, Calumet School District 132 Supt. Elizabeth Reynolds, and two other family members, according to credit card statements obtained by the SouthtownStar through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Reynolds did not return calls for comment this week.
Reynolds' district-issued card also includes charges to Chicago's theater district, one bill of nearly $100 at Bogart's Charhouse in Homewood, and car rental charges based in Jacksonville, Fla., documents show.
But that's small potatoes compared to the thousands of dollars Flowers spent on meal or food purchases since he took office in July 2007.
Sometimes, he's used the public credit card to eat out as many as four times in one week. The Clubhouse - an Oak Brook restaurant that boasts a luxurious country-club feel - appears to be a favorite. On Dec. 21, 2007, Flowers spent $863 on the fine dining, statements show. Just two months earlier, Flowers dropped $200 on Oct. 21 and was back on Oct. 23 to the tune of $85.97. In April 2008, he returned to charge $326.32. In total, he frequented the eatery - where specialties include sweet chili ginger calamari and pecan crusted tilapia - seven times, statements show.
The array of Oak Brook-area restaurants reflect a sophisticated palate. Flowers charged more than $430 at Wildfire in January of this year, $133 at Maggiano's, $286 at Papadeaux Seafood Kitchen and $89 at Bar Louie to his regional office's credit card.
But it wasn't all upscale cuisine. Flowers also seemed to have a craving for Applebee's, KFC, Panda Express, Potbelly, Portillo's, Panera and Priscilla's Ultimate Soulfood.
In addition to feeding his appetite, Flowers also spent $45 at Yehia and Company Hair Designs, statements show. There were also two separate limousine charges, plenty of purchases at the gas pump, a theater district charge, as well as hotel and rental car payments outlined in Flowers' credit card statements.
Flowers began his tenure with a credit card that had a $5,000 credit limit. That was upped to $10,000, and most recently $20,000.
Flowers did not return calls for comment this week about the credit card charges, nor has he responded to reporters' inquiries about a variety of questionable financial dealings revealed in recent weeks.
A preliminary audit of the office states that Flowers maintains he paid the office back from his personal account but the auditors were unable to confirm that.