GBI 'conducting interviews, collecting documents' at Atlanta City Hall

ATLANTA — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was at Atlanta City Hall on Wednesday collecting evidence in the ongoing investigation into open records requests, a spokesperson tells Channel 2 Action News.

Channel 2 Action News asked the GBI about the details of its investigation.

"The GBI is conducting numerous interviews and collecting documents as it pertains to the ongoing investigation requested by the Attorney General's Office into the open records request violations by the City of Atlanta," GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles told Channel 2's Aaron Diamant.

The City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Communications sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:

"GBI agents came to City Hall today to coordinate meetings with City employees. The agents did not retrieve any documents or conduct any interviews. They also did not deliver any subpoenas. Contrary to reports, the City Attorney did not 'sneak out' of the building, but instead attended a pre-planned lunch meeting out of the office during the unannounced visit of the agents. Outside legal counsel, Attorneys General Sam Olens and Thurbert Baker, will be working with the GBI to provide all requested documentation and coordinate interviews accordingly."


Channel 2 Action News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution filed a complaint with the with Georgia Attorney General on April 11, alleging "a culture of political interference" with open records requests at Atlanta City Hall.

Soon after, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced new policies that drastically reform how the city responds to requests made under the Georgia Open Records Act.

The complaint outlined 10 examples of alleged violations of the Georgia Open Records Act dating back to July 2016.

Bottoms' new open records policy appears to incorporate some of the suggestions in the AJC and Channel 2 Action News complaint, including establishing an official records custodian and mandatory open records training for all city employees.

"I can't speak to the culture, but what I can speak to is what I intend for my administration to reflect. And that's an administration that is open and transparent," Bottoms said.

It also requires that all employees be subject to disciplinary action for failing to comply with the policy, which Bottoms says will be implemented immediately.

"It's about complying with the law as it's written," Bottoms said.