Two major players in city hall bribery scandal learn punishment - CBS46 News

Two major players in city hall bribery scandal learn punishment

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

One of two Atlanta business owners has found out his punishment for bribing an official in order to win city contracts.

E.R. Mitchell and Charles Richards both entered guilty pleas earlier this year, admitting they took part in a pay to play scheme. 

Mitchell was sentenced Tuesday morning to five years in prison and was ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution. 

Charles Richards was sentenced to 27 months in prison and was ordered to pay back $193,000 in restitution and complete 100 hours of community service. 

Back in January, Mitchell acknowledged he paid at least $1 million in bribes from 2010 to 2015 in order to secure lucrative city contracts. Then in February, Richards admitted he shelled out at least $185,000 in bribes.

According to a statement released by U.S. Attorney John Horn earlier this year, Mitchell and another person in the construction industry paid "an individual in exchange for City of Atlanta contracts, believing that some of the money would be paid to city officials who exercised influence over the contracting process."

Charles Richards admitted to paying $185,000 in bribes to an unnamed person in the belief that part of the money would go to a city official who could pull some strings and make sure Richards got lucrative city contracts.

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.

Smith admitted in court to meeting privately with an executive from a construction firm in Atlanta on multiple occasions. During the meeting, Smith and the vendor would discuss a city procurement project, bids and solicitations. After the meeting, the vendor and Smith reportedly went to the bathroom where Smith was paid $1,000. In return, Smith was to use his position and power to assist with contracts. The total paid to Smith over two years was more than $30,000.

Smith led the city's efforts to overhaul Atlanta's water and sewer system and the expansion of, and concessions projects for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He could face five years in prison when he's sentenced in January.

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