In July 2011, a governor’s task force released a blockbuster investigative report that found widespread cheating in Atlanta Public Schools. In the findings, the authors criticized business leaders, including those at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, for a campaign to attack the “messengers” rather than find the truth because they were more concerned with protecting “the Atlanta brand.”
Six months later, chamber president Sam Williams, for 15 years the public face of the business community, spotted a couple of messengers — Bob Wilson and Mike Bowers, two former prosecutors who headed the governor’s task force. It was at the Ritz Carlton, and Georgia Trend magazine was honoring the two lawyers for making its annual list of Georgia’s 100 Most Influential Leaders. Williams, a perennial on that list, started in on Wilson as he left the lunch, telling him he thought the task force took a cheap shot at the business community.