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Globally shamed after its Deepwater Horizon oil spill last year, BP sought to mitigate the disaster's fallout with huge sums of money. The oil giant has now given state and local governments more than $750 million to clean up their coasts, most of which has gone to serious spill-related needs. According to a new report from the Associated Press, however, millions of those dollars have also been spent on seemingly frivolous things. For instance, how do you clean up oil with an iPad?
Reserve police officers in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, got brand new Tasers, which go for almost $1,000 a pop.
Kenny Loggins concert
Loggins, the Doobie Brothers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd were hired to play concerts in Florida in order to promote the state's beaches—to the tune of $560,000.
Public Relations "Duties"
Just a few weeks after the BP spill ended, a Florida county commissioner's girlfriend opened up a public relations firm and almost immediately got a fat government contract: $14,000 from the county's $236,000 in BP funds.
2011 Chevy Tahoe 1500 LT
Biloxi, Mississippi, Mayor A.J. Holloway bought this $35,000 SUV with BP funds, scrapping his other city-owned car, a relatively new 2006 GMC Yukon. A city spokesperson said Holloway has taken the Tahoe to "countless meetings" about the BP spill.
Fourteen Cars and Trucks, Two Boats, Two Dump Trucks, and a Backhoe Loader
Mayor Holloway isn't the only one who upgraded his ride courtsey of BP. Several other Biloxi officials dipped into the city's $1.4 million cut of the money to purchase a fleet of new vehicles. The AP reports that the city's public works director and chief engineer are both driving brand new cars.
Charlotte Randolph, president of Louisiana's Lafourche Parish, used BP money to buy a new Apple iPad, which she says she needed to communicate with her staff. "My work is very important," she told the AP.
Randolph's coworker Brennan Matherne, a spokesman for Lafourche Parish, sent BP the bill for his new Dell laptop and accessories, which cost more than $3,165. Matherne told the AP that all of his work on the spill exhausted the $2,700 computer he'd gotten just a year before.
Florida's Miami-Dade and Broward counties, which are on the east side of the state, saw no oil from the BP spill. But that didn't stop the state tourism agency from sending them both big chunks of BP money.
Unused Vacuum Truck
The Gulfport, Mississippi, sewer department bought itself a new vacuum truck using $300,000 of BP's money. According to the AP, it vacuumed not a single drop of oil.