GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Atlanta's mayor is threatening to cut ties with a major contractor after one of its employees called Georgia Rep. John Lewis "a racist pig” on Facebook.
Mayor Kasim Reed sent a letter threatening to pull millions of dollars of work from Norcross company United Consulting after finding out about the comments made by one of their top staff members, Tommy Hunter.
Hunter, a Gwinnett County commissioner, works for the company in a leadership role.
In the post, he also referred to Democrats as “Demonrats” and a “bunch of idiots.”
After his comments, Hunter's constituents and others called on him to resign. He's apologized but refused to resign.
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The company sent an apology letter directly to Lewis, whose congressional district covers much of Atlanta.
“Our company has a long and diverse history of action and commitment in the minority community that is reflected by our personnel and our work within the community that is reflected in every employee from myself to every team member,” the letter, signed by United Consulting CEO Reza Abree, said. “Again please accept my sincerest apologies for Commissioner Hunter’s post.”
President of the Georgia NAACP Francys Johnson along with 17 other Georgia leaders sent a letter to Reed weeks ago calling on the city to cut ties with the engineering firm.
“... [We] are confident that your voice and leadership on this matter will do much to restore the reputation of our region as a welcoming, global epicenter for the Southeast,” the letter, dated Jan. 31, said.
"We are very serious about this and we expect to see action,” Johnson said. "Freedom of speech doesn't come without consequences with his business and constituents. I hear they are raising hell in Gwinnett.”
Protesters have turned out at each of the four Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners meetings since Hunter’s social media activity came to light.
Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston got a copy of a letter Reed wrote to United Consulting this week asking the firm to take action on the issue.
“I am writing you personally to let you know the city of Atlanta finds Mr. Hunter's toxic remark to be insulting reprehensible and unacceptable. Please let me know by the close of business February 27 how you plan to resolve this matter,” Reed wrote.
Huddleston reached out to Hunter and his staff, but did not hear back. He also called United Consulting, who told him they had no comment on the matter.
Friday morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution received a scathing response to the letter from the commissioner’s spokesman, Seth Weathers.
“I know Kasim Reed would love to divert attention away from himself and his corruption scandal in the city of Atlanta,” Weathers wrote in a text message. “Unfortunately, this will probably be added to the growing stack of files the FBI is reviewing in their investigation against his corrupt administration. I’m curious if this threatening letter is a blueprint for the shakedown tactics he used as Mayor to get his friends lucrative city contracts?”
In a subsequent message, Weathers wrote this: “I just read the letter again — holy [expletive]. I had heard about Reed’s mob style politics but never witnessed it until now.”
Information from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.
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