Monday, April 9, 2018

The Atlanta Bribery Scandal

In the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 11, 2015, Shandarrick Barnes had a message to deliver to a longtime Atlanta contractor who was talking to the feds. Printed with red ink on a brick was a threat to Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr.: “Shut up ER, keep your mouth shut!!!” Mitchell awoke that morning to the sound of shattered glass and found dead rats scattered about his property. Barnes was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for witness tampering.
Rev. Mitzi Bickers. Barnes worked for Bickers before he went to prison.Barnes worked for a powerful operative, who worked directly for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Rev. Mitzi Bickers was his boss and a longtime friend. Bickers was accused in an 11-count indictment unsealed last week of conspiring to receive more than $2 million in bribes to win city of Atlanta contracts. Barnes had deep connections to Bickers. Her name was on his employment application for a city of Atlanta job after he got out of prison in 2013 for a racketeering conviction for defrauding two local governments.
Elvin "E.R." Mitchell Mitchell admitted giving someone more than a million dollars to be passed on to Atlanta city officials in exchange for construction contracts. Mitchell also has direct ties to Mayor Reed, donating at least $7,000 to his campaigns. So far Mitchell is the only person charged in the federal case, but prosecutors have indicated more arrests will be coming.

Mitchell was sentenced to five years in prison and was ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution. Last month, the city's former purchasing officer, Adam Smith, pleaded guilty to accepting more than $30,000 in bribes from 2015 to 2017 from an unnamed vendor who was awarded millions of dollars worth of work. The identity of that vendor remains a mystery.