Former Atlanta Watershed Director indicted on bribery charges in city hall corruption case

Former Atlanta Watershed Director indicted on bribery charges

ATLANTA — A federal grand jury has indicted the former City of Atlanta Watershed Management Director on multiple counts and a former city vendor, the U.S. Attorneys office told Channel 2 Action News Friday.

Jo Ann Macrina is charged with bribery, conspiring to bribe and tax evasion.

Macrina served as the head of Watershed Management until 2016 when she was fired by former Mayor Kasim Reed. Reed accused Macrina of mismanagement and questioned her travel expenses.

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The grand jury also indicted Jeff Jafari on new bribery charges. Prosecutors say Jafari bribed Macrina in exchange for city business and Macrina manipulated the vendor selection process.

“It’s alleged she received approximately $10,000 in cash, expensive trips, hotel room, jewelry and accessories,” U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak said.

Jafari is already accused of bribing former Atlanta Chief Procurement Officer Adam Smith. Jafari was first indicted in March 2019 on 51 charges of bribery, witness tampering and tax evasion.

He was a longtime contractor with the city and a major campaign contributor. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and city council members returned tens of thousands in campaign contributions after a raid at Jafari’s PRAD Group offices in September 2017.

“This is the biggest bunch of baloney I’ve seen in 37 years of doing this kind of work,” said Paul Kish, Macrina’s attorney.

He told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that Macrina fully cooperated with the federal corruption investigation and met with the FBI about 25 times. He said she’s willing to continue to work with them.

“We will proudly enter pleas of not guilty to all charges and we will defend this charge and try to end this travesty of justice. My client remains committed to help the U.S. Attorney’s office of any other prosecutor if they really want to go after fraud.”

Jafari’s attorney sent a statement that said Jafari pleaded not guilty to the original charges and will plead not guilty again and they look forward to proving their innocence in court.

Sources: Atlanta Watershed Commissioner fired