Top aide for Atlanta mayor changes financial disclosure form

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ATLANTA - A top aide to Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed changed her financial disclosure statement after Channel 2 Action News raised questions about its accuracy.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher uncovered evidence that Mitzi Bickers was deeply involved in several political campaigns last year. Until Belcher started digging, Bickers had disclosed nothing about that work.

Bickers is a former Atlanta school board member and a well-known figure in local politics. A disclosure form for her position is required and states it is submitted under penalty of perjury. In other words, failing to tell the truth could result in criminal prosecution.        

Bickers failed to mention her affiliation with a company that did half-a-million dollars in campaign work.            

Bickers worked on Mayor Reed’s campaign in 2009 before taking a job as his director of human services. Last year, she took unpaid leave from her city job to work for Pirouette Companies.

State records show that 15 separate political campaigns paid campaign consulting firm Pirouette Companies, LLC $516,920 in 2012.  Included in that figure is $193,000 by Citizens for Transportation Mobility, which supported the Transportation Sales Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

The figure also includes $56,000 by Burrell Ellis's re-election campaign as Dekalb County C.E.O, and it includes nearly $75,000 paid by the campaign of state Rep. Pat Gardner of Atlanta.

When Bickers filed her initial disclosure form, she denied working with any organization last year other than her job for Reed and her church. She did not mention earning any money from Pirouette Companies. 

The disclosure form that Bickers signed and submitted states that false or misleading statement can result in sanctions or (other) penalties. The form specifically cites “under penalty of perjury.” After Channel 2 Action News made repeated inquiries to Reed’s office, Bickers did an about-face. 

Last week, she submitted an amended form admitting that she had worked for Pirouette Companies and earned more than $5,000 from the campaign consulting firm.

Bickers did not respond to a voicemail or an email from Channel 2 Action News. 

Mayor Reed's press secretary did not respond when Belcher asked if Bickers had an explanation.