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Bribery probe: Atlanta releases 240,000 more pages of records to prosecutors

Atlanta City Hall said Tuesday it has provided about 240,000 pages of additional documents to federal prosecutors in response to a subpoena delivered last month in the ongoing federal investigation into municipal contracts.


The new cache of records relate to the city’s former chief purchasing officer, Adam Smith, who was fired Feb. 21 on the day the subpoena was delivered. That same day, federal agents also seized his city-issued computer and smart phone.

The Smith subpoena sought documents since Jan. 1, 2014, showing Smith certified to City Council that companies that won contracts of $1 million or more disclosed personal and financial relationships with city officials and their family members and “that the award of the contract is appropriate.” The subpoena also demands all “written determinations” of conflicts by Smith since 2014.

Prosecutors sought Smith’s financial disclosures, emails sent and received for the past three years, ethics policies he drafted or approved and any requests for approval of outside employment. The subpoena also sought forensic images of the hard drives of his computer and city-issued phone.

Mayor Kasim Reed’s office said the city returned more than 223,000 pages of emails, more than 15,000 pages of contract-related documents and about 3,000 pages of ethics disclosures and other “contract-related materials” to federal authorities.

“The City’s top priority is full cooperation with the ongoing criminal investigation,” said a statement emailed by Jenna Garland, a spokeswoman for Reed.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis published Sunday found more than $2.1 billion in City Council-approved contract awards of $1 million or more in the time frame covered by the subpoena.

The emails the city provided to prosecutors didn’t cover the full period specified in the subpoena. Instead, prosecutors were given emails sent and received from Nov. 6, 2014 to Feb. 24 of this year, the city said. The AJC has asked Reed’s office if emails to or from Smith existed from Jan. 1, 2014 to early November 2014, but messages left with spokespeople for Reed were not immediately returned.

The records sent to prosecutors will be available on or before April 11 to those who register to use a website established by a city vendor.

The subpoena, with its focus on disclosures of potential conflicts in larger contracts, indicates a potential new direction in the federal probe. The time frame for requested documents also differs from earlier subpoenas to the city.

Reed’s office has declined to say why Smith was fired last month, and it is not known if prosecutors consider Smith a witness, target or both. The subpoena was the third known demand for documents in the federal investigation, which became public in January when longtime Atlanta contractor Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr. was charged with and pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay more than $1 million in bribes from 2010 to 2015 to win city contracts. A second contractor has since pleaded guilty in the scheme.

The first known subpoena to the city was delivered in August and sought emails and other documents from Mitzi Bickers, a political consultant and Reed’s former human services director. The second from November demanded information about city contracts awarded to Mitchell and Richards.

Combined, those two information demands produced more than 1.4 million pages of documents, according to city officials.

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