According to the Northern District of Georgia, a second construction company owner has been charged with conspiring to pay bribes for City of Atlanta contracts.
We previously reported that Elvin Mitchell, the owner of one of the largest minority contractors in Atlanta, was indicted for bribing city officials with over $1 million as a way to gain $10 million in City of Atlanta contracts. He pled guilty to those charges.
Now, a second contractor, “Charles P. Richards, Jr., has been arraigned on conspiratorial bribery charges for paying over $185,000 to obtain City of Atlanta contracts.”
According to the Department of Justice announcement:
“From approximately 2010 to August 2015, Richards conspired with E.R. Mitchell to buy lucrative construction-related contracts with the City of Atlanta,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “Contractors who willingly participate in a pay-to-play contracting system subvert the process for those who try to compete fairly and ultimately undermine the public’s trust in government.”
According to the Atlanta Constitution article, Richards entered a plea of guilty and agreed to testify in future proceedings as a way to lessen his sentence. The case documents, which have reached over 1.3 million pages, have been released to the public in what some are calling a brazen attempt to buy city contracts in Atlanta.
Richards’ attorney stated that Richards had participated in the scheme as a way to avoid bankruptcy during the downtown. He also said after the plea deal that Richards was profoundly sorry for his role.
Still to come are the identification of the individuals in city government who were tasked with awarding those tainted contracts and who accepted bribes in the process.
We suspect that this “pay to play” game goes on around the country and very few of them make the headlines or get exposed as in some venues, it is the accepted way to do business with city government.
We will keep you updated on this and other bribery cases as they emerge from the FBI and IRS investigations.