ATLANTA - Federal prosecutors have charged Jeff Jafari, a former executive vice president of PRAD Group, on charges of bribery, witness tampering and tax evasion in the latest twist in the ongoing Atlanta City Hall corruption scandal.
[TIMELINE: Atlanta City Hall Investigation]
In a 51-count indictment, prosecutors allege that Jafari made multiple payments to Adam Smith, Atlanta’s former Chief Procurement Officer, up until Smith’s arrest in early 2017.
"We think this is another big step toward finishing out the investigation of corruption at City Hall, and we look forward to the day in court where we prove this to a jury," said United States attorney BJay Pak.
Jeff Jafari’s company got a ton of work from ATL and gave a lot of money to pols. Now charged in 51 count federal indictment: Bribery, money laundering, tax fraud, etc. We’re on it @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/tgNXqznI7J— Richard Belcher (@BelcherWSB) March 6, 2019
Jafari was a longtime contractor with the city of Atlanta and a major campaign contributor to various city politicians. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and city council members returned tens of thousands in campaign contributions after a raid at the PRAD Group’s offices in September 2017.
The indictment accuses Jafari of attempting to have Smith lie to federal agents about the bribes and includes snippets of conversations he had with Smith.
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Jafari urged Smith to describe the payments as loans and said that the two needed to “stay on the same page.”
“Adam, we’re in trouble if you don’t - if you cave in, I’m (expletive),” Jafari said according to the indictment.
Jafari, who was also a political supporter of former mayor Kasim Reed, left PRAD shortly after the 2017 raid. The company is an architectural, design, and construction management and services firm headquartered in Atlanta that has done business with the city dating back to 1984.
"Do you still have the welcome mat out for people to come in and cooperate?" Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher asked Pak.
"I announced that along time ago, and the longer that they wait, obviously, the less likely they’re going to get benefits of any type of cooperation," Pak said.
Since the federal corruption investigation into Atlanta City Hall became public in 2017, five people have plead guilty to various charges. Most involved bribes from city vendors who received lucrative contracts.
Two former city contractors and three city employees have received prison sentences.
Channel 2's Richard Belcher and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article.
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