GDOT employee accused of accepting bribes - CBS46 News

GDOT employee accused of accepting bribes

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Is your safety for sale? Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman has uncovered a multi-million dollar transportation contract that has been tainted by allegations of bribery and extortion.

Saltzman obtained records that confirm the Georgia Department of Transportation selected a company named Serco for a $21 million contract after a Serco manager paid a GDOT employee cash under the table.

"This is a paramount public safety contract," GDOT Spokesperson David Spear said.

The contract is to run GDOT's Transportation Management Center. The TMC is the nerve-center where cameras track real-time traffic, accidents and routes for emergency vehicles in life or death situations.

"That employee was being bribed by a company they were overseeing," Saltzman said to Spear.

"You could come to that conclusion. I can't argue that," Spear said.

The Inspector General's investigation documents months of extortion by GDOT employee, Anthony Bradford. Bradford managed the transportation center and oversaw of the contract award.

In December of last year, he met with an employee from Serco in a discrete parking lot to get his first payment.

"When somebody hands you $2,500 cash in a parking lot, there should be some alarms going off in your conscience," Spear said.

Records show Bradford then asked Serco managers for more money - $75,000 for his consulting fees. Soon after that, Serco was chosen for the $21 million transportation center contract.

"He was taking cash payments from a consultant that he supervised and that he was evaluating for additional work," Spear said.

Spear said Bradford made state wages of just $61,000 a year. Saltzman tried to track Bradford down at his luxurious $350,000 lake front home. He refused to speak on camera, but in a telephone conversation told Saltzman he did not receive one single dime from anyone.

Bradford resigned once the investigation began and before GDOT could fire him.

"To say that we were disappointed is a vast understatement. We were shocked and very distressed. I can't explain or defend his actions," Spear said.

GDOT put the transportation center contract out to bid again after the bribes were discovered in February of this year.

And there was another twist: The company GDOT has now selected to run the center is Atkins North America. Atkins is the new employer of Marcus Wittich, a former Serco manager and one of the Serco employees singled out in the bribery investigation.

"The appearance is, after you awarded this company the $21 million contract, maybe that GDOT continues to be bought," Saltzman said.

"Well, I certainly would disagree with that," Spear replied.

Wittich refused to answer our Tough Questions when we went to his home. Atkins issued a statement saying: "Although Wittich's name was slightly mentioned in the OIG report, he was in no way implicated or in the least bit associated with any unethical conduct."

"He didn't break any laws that we could determine, and we don't have a right, Wendy, to tell and individual who he can work for or who he can't work for. Or tell a company who they can hire and who they can't hire," Spear said.

Spear said GDOT has strengthened their ethics rules hoping to prevent any further misconduct.

No criminal charges have yet to be filed against Bradford, although federal authorities were investigating the case.

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