ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- A bribery case has led to the CEO of an Atlanta business being sentenced to federal prison Tuesday after he paid $20,000 in cash to a City of Atlanta Department of Procurement official in order to secure a contract at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The City of Atlanta sought to enter a contract for a vendor to establish and operate a kitchen/restaurant at the Ground Transportation Building at Atlanta’s airport back in 2017.
The project was projected to generate an annual revenue of $200,000, and generate rent payments to the City of Atlanta of $13,000 per year.
The City of Atlanta offered a ten-year term for the kitchen and restaurant contract, with a three-year renewal option, officials said.
Business owner, Hayat Choudhary Atlanta Airport Shuttle Services, Inc. and Meskerem Restaurant, was one of the bidders for the contract.
According to the press releases from U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak, “Official-1” was the Department of Procurement officer responsible for overseeing the bidding process and, thus, influenced the awarding of the kitchen/restaurant contract.
Once the contract was announced, Choudhary paid a $10,000 bribe to "Official-1" to obtain the contract; however, after the first bribe payment, the officer instructed Choudhary that he had to pay another $10,000 to receive the contract.
Choudhary paid the second $10,000 bribe.
Following the second payment to Official-1, the City of Atlanta awarded the contract to Choudhary’s company, Attorney Byung J. Pak said.
After his conviction, Choudhary was then sentenced to one year, ten months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
“As the defendant learned, there are serious consequences for those who believe they can bribe their way into a contract. We will continue to vigorously investigate pay-to-play schemes at all levels of government," said Attorney Byung J. Pak.
“Choudhary’s actions erode the public’s trust in a process that is meant to be fair to all contract applicants,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta.
“Hopefully this sentencing will help restore some of that trust, or at least send a message that the FBI is determined to pursue anyone who would undermine the integrity of how contracts are awarded," he added.