Following up on Connie Morris's decision to refund some of the costs of her trip to the magnet school conference. The Salina Journal digs deeper
, with help from retiree Frank Smith:
Smith obtained receipts and documentation Morris filed with the state to be reimbursed for the trip. The records show that Morris stayed at a Days Inn in Denver on April 15, flew out of Denver at 6:35 a.m. the following day, stayed six nights at the Fontainebleau Hilton Resort in Miami Beach, and then returned home April 23.
The receipts include a $147 cab fare from the Fort Lauderdale airport to the hotel and back. But Smith is skeptical. He notes that Morris indicated she rented a car for the trip, and some of her travel movement seems to confirm that.
“I’ve already registered, made hotel, flight and car rental arrangements,” Morris wrote in a letter to the state board staff as she was preparing for the trip. And in a margin note explaining her flight to Fort Lauderdale, rather than Miami, where the resort hotel is located, Morris wrote, “Tickets to Fort Lauderdale were less expensive than into Miami. I plan to rent a car.”
The car or the cab?
Smith contends Morris’ movements while in Florida suggest she rented a car.
“The estimated arrival time at Ft. Lauderdale for Mrs. Morris and her husband was 2:47 p.m. on April 16,” Smith wrote in a letter to Steve Abrams, chairman of the Kansas State Board of Education. “At 3:53 p.m., she was having a meal at the Subway in Hollywood, five miles from the airport and next to the I-95 on-ramp.” He notes she checked into the hotel at 6:09 p.m.
Almost three hours later she bought another dinner at Islamorada, in the Florida Keys.
“It seems somewhat implausible that Mrs. Morris and her husband took a cab five miles to a freeway on-ramp, ate an early dinner while the cab waited, then took another two-plus hours to check in at the hotel,” Smith wrote. “They then turned up two hours and 38 minutes later, 93 miles south of the Fontainebleau when they paid a restaurant tab after a substantial dinner.”
There's more. A good little piece of investigative journalism.