• TIMELINE: Atlanta City Hall Investigation

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - The ongoing investigation into corruption at Atlanta City Hall has taken many twists and turns since the first charges were filed. Here is a timeline of some of the most important events that have unfolded so far.


    Jan. 19, 2017: Unnamed city employee is charged by federal authorities with bribing workers in order to gain city contracts. [READ MORE]

    Jan. 25, 2017: Shandarrick Barnes, a very powerful campaign operative, who worked directly for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, was arrested for allegedly trying to intimidate E.R. Mitchell. Mitchell, a wealthy construction owner, was a big donor for Reed, raising thousands for his campaign. Records show Mitchell was talking to the FBI at least as far back as September 2015 related to the City Hall bribery allegations. Barnes allegedly threw a brick through his living room window, with the message written on it. When Mitchell went outside his southwest Atlanta home, he found at least three dead rats had been placed on his doorstep and on his truck. Barnes later pleaded guilty to federal charges of interfering with a federal witness. [READ MORE]

    Jan. 25, 2017:  E. R. Mitchell pleads guilty, admitted to paying bribes totaling over $1 million over a period of years. [READ MORE

    Jan. 26, 2017: Then-Mayor Kasim Reed distances himself from former staffer, Mitzi Bickers, who had connections to the bribery scandal. On a city ethics document filed by Bickers, she described herself as directly reporting to Mayor Reed. Channel 2 Action news had uncovered a link between an effort to silence E.R. Mitchell, who admitted paying the bribes, and Bickers, Reed’s former Human Services director. [READ MORE]

    Feb. 1, 2017: The city announces it will release 1.3 million pages of records pertaining to contracts at the center of the City Hall bribery scandal. The AJC and Channel 2 Action News sought contracts, payments, emails and other routine city documents pertaining to E.R. Mitchell, his associates, and their companies, and received a blanket denial of that information saying the ongoing federal investigation allowed them an exemption under Georgia's open records law. [READ MORE

    Feb. 2, 2017: Through her divorce attorney, Marjorie Mitchell told Channel 2 Action News that she's uncovered records showing her husband, E.R. Mitchell, misrepresented his wife's role in his companies and her experience in the construction industry on documents he filed with the city. Marjorie said she had no idea her husband used her name to win contracts or to get certified as a female minority business owner for bonus points in the bidding process with multiple governments, including Fulton County and Jackson, Mississippi. [READ MORE]  

    Feb. 2, 2017: A second construction company owner is subpoenaed in the relation to the city bribery case. Records showed C. P. Richards Construction received nearly $10 million in city of Atlanta payments for construction work from 2009 to 2014. [READ MORE

    Feb. 8, 2017: Federal prosecutors charge Charles P. Richards Jr. with conspiracy to commit bribery in order to obtain city of Atlanta contracts. From 2010 to August 2015, Richards was alleged to have paid $185,000 in bribes in the belief that some of the money would be paid to unnamed city officials, prosecutors alleged. [READ MORE]  

    Feb. 9, 2017: The city of Atlanta releases more than 1.4 million pages of public records it said were related to the bribery scandal. Among the documents we discovered a subpoena for political operative Mitzi Bickers. [READ MORE]

    Feb. 16, 2017: Charles P. Richards Jr. pleads guilty for paying at least $185,000 in bribes, which federal prosecutors said produced millions of dollars in city of Atlanta contracts. [READ MORE

    Feb. 21, 2017: Chief Procurement Officer Adam Smith was fired after federal agents seized a city owned-computer and a city-owned phone from his office. Throughout his 14-year career with the city, Smith ran an office that oversees hundreds of millions of dollars in spending .He was brought in as procurement director by then-mayor Shirley Franklin in 2003 and kept on by Reed. [READ MORE

    Feb. 23, 2017: A whistleblower sits down with Channel 2 Action News and speaks about being interviewed by federal investigators on the activities of Atlanta political operative Mitzi Bickers and current Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Kishia Powell. She had previously worked with the women in Jackson, Mississippi, along with E.R. Mitchell. Bickers then formed a Mississippi company in 2015, with another subject of the Atlanta bribery case, Keyla Jackson. They went on to win part of a $75 million hotel construction project in downtown Jackson. [READ MORE

    Feb. 24, 2017: Channel 2 Action News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtain a federal subpoena that showed prosecutors sought emails, ethics disclosures and other records tied to Adam Smith since Jan. 1, 2014. [READ MORE

    April 11, 2017: A former city worker has filed a lawsuit against the city accusing them of buying city vehicles used for Mayor Kasim Reed with federal funds set aside for police cars. [READ MORE

    Sept. 26, 2017: Adam Smith pleads guilty to a conspiracy charge in the federal bribery case. Prosecutors said Smith accepted more than $30,000 in payoffs from an unnamed company that did business with the city. [READ MORE

    Oct. 5, 2017: Then-Mayor Kasim Reed sits down with Channel 2 Action News and says he is not involved in any way with the federal bribery investigation at City Hall. [READ MORE]  

    Oct. 10, 2017: Contractor E.R. Mitchell is sentenced to five years in prison and Charles Richards sentenced to more than two years in prison after Mitchell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering, and Richards pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. [READ MORE

    Jan. 16, 2018: Adam Smith sentenced to a year-and-a-half in jail. Prosecutors said Smith secretly recorded a number of conversations on his own and later recorded more at the direction of federal authorities. [READ MORE

    March 8, 2018: Channel 2 Action News obtains text messages that reveal an effort by then-Mayor Kasim Reed’s press secretary to delay releasing potentially embarrassing information about unpaid water bills by Atlanta city officials, and when finally released, to make it as difficult as possible to understand. [READ MORE

    March 13, 2018: The state attorney general’s office asks the GBI to open an investigation into possible violations of the state open records law by the press office of then-Mayor Kasim Reed. [READ MORE

    April 5, 2018: Mitzi Bickers pleads not guilty to the 11-count indictment on charges that she took $2 million in bribes to steer city of Atlanta contracts to at least two contractors from 2010 to 2015. [READ MORE

    April 11, 2018: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News filed a complaint Wednesday with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr alleging “a culture of political interference” with open records requests at Atlanta City Hall, and requesting mediation to implement reforms for repeated violations of state law. [READ MORE

    April 18, 2018: Channel 2 Action News obtains two federal subpoenas seeking former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s purchasing card expenditures. One focuses on Reed's deputy chief of staff and a man convicted of wire fraud. The other subpoena focuses on the city credit cards used by Reed, his brother and two others. [READ MORE

    April 19, 2018: The Invest Atlanta board votes unanimously to create an ad hoc committee to perform an independent review of a $40,000 transaction between the city and its nonprofit fundraising arm, Partners For Prosperity. The transaction was named in a federal subpoena delivered to the city earlier in the month in relation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office widening corruption investigation at Atlanta City Hall. [READ MORE

    April 25, 2018: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation pays surprise visit to Atlanta City Hall in relation to the ongoing investigation into open records requests. [READ MORE]  

    April 26, 2018: Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtain texts from a personal smartphone of the top spokeswoman for former Mayor Kasim Reed. They show the spokeswoman tried to compel a senior city official to delay production of public records, repeatedly telling him to thwart a city attorney’s advice to comply with an open records request and even issuing a veiled threat to involve Reed. [READ MORE

    May 14, 2018: A Channel 2 Action News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found a 10-point subpoena — dated Sept. 9, 2016, and kept from the public with former-Mayor Kasim Reed’s knowledge — included demands from federal prosecutors for information about lucrative construction and concessions contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; vendors with close political ties to Reed; and financial records for three members of his cabinet. [READ MORE

    July 23, 2018: A new subpoena issued in the federal corruption probe into Atlanta City Hall shows that federal authorities want to see records for every member of former Mayor Kasim Reed's cabinet. [READ MORE]  

    Aug. 8, 2018: Katrina Taylor-Parks, who served as deputy chief of staff to former Mayor Kasim Reed, was charged with accepting bribes in 2013 from an unidentified city vendor. [READ MORE

    Aug. 15, 2018: Katrina Taylor-Parks pleads guilty in federal court for accepting $4,000 in bribes that were given to her and her husband. [READ MORE]

    Aug. 28, 2018: Channel 2 Action News and our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com obtain a federal grand jury subpoena seeking records of Mayor Kasim Reed and his office’s credit card spending and travel for the entirety of his two terms in office. [READ MORE]

    Sept. 18, 2018: The Atlanta City Council approves an ordinance meant to reform how the city responds to requests made under the Georgia Open Records Act.The Open Records Act gives the public the right to access to government documents and records. [READ MORE]

    Oct. 3, 2018: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News agreed to drop their claims against the city of Atlanta for what the media organizations described as “systemic violations” of the Georgia Open Records Act. Under the agreement, the city will work with the news outlets over the next 90 days in drafting a comprehensive policy that will govern how the city responds to public records requests. [READ MORE]

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