AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Atlanta nightclub owner named in AJC investigation sentenced to federal prison

An Atlanta nightclub operator was sentenced in U.S. District Court Friday to more than two years in prison for stealing federal funds from a city jobs program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta said.

Kevin Edwards, 46, must also pay nearly $490,000 in restitution and serve three years in supervised release. He pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds Dec. 13.

A 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found that the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency gave Edwards hundreds of thousands of dollars for to give on-the-job training in construction and child day care that never took place. Instead, workers did odd jobs at Edwards’ nightclubs and elsewhere for only a fraction of their promised pay.

Federal investigators also found that Edwards submitted forged wage reimbursement requests for people who never worked for his companies.

City workforce agency head Deborah Lum retired suddenly after the AJC published its investigation. Last year, the city agreed to pay back $1.86 million in federal job training funds.

Edwards' business dealings included partnerships with with Atlanta celebrities. In 2014, he was involved in a legal dispute with Benzino and Stevie J  of VH1's "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta" over control of a downtown bar. In 2015, he sued Frank Ski of V-103 over a lounge Edwards operated in the space that Ski's shuttered restaurant previously occupied.


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