Smith admitted to taking bribes totalling $30,000 over two years © atlanta.gov
Smith admitted to taking bribes totalling $30,000 over two years © atlanta.gov

Former Atlanta CPO admits taking bribes from supplier

27 September 2017

A former chief procurement officer for the City of Atlanta has admitted accepting payments in exchange for helping a vendor win city contracts.   

Federal prosecutor attorney John Horn said Adam Smith took more than $30,000 between 2015-17 from an unnamed vendor in exchange for information and counsel about the city’s procurement process as well as specific bids. 

Horn said Smith, who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy, would meet the vendor at local restaurants. 

“During most of these meetings, Smith and the vendor got up from the table and met secretly in the restaurant’s bathroom where the vendor gave Smith approximately $1,000 in cash payments as bribes,” he said.

City ethics rules require contractors to reveal personal and financial relationships with public officials or their families.

Smith had a city salary of more than $200,000, according to Atlanta Journal.

Horn said Smith oversaw every single bid and major contract that went through Atlanta City Hall from 2003 to 2017 but the bribes only went back around two years. Smith was fired in February 2017 when agents raided his office and seized electronic equipment.

“The City of Atlanta’s Procurement Office hold the power and the authority to oversee and award billions of dollars in taxpayer funds for the purchasing and contracting activities of the city but it does so with the obligation of the public trust to do so lawfully and fairly,” said Horn.

“Smith’s failure to do so here represents a fundamental breakdown in the process.” 

As part of his plea, Smith as agreed to provide evidence and testimony against others in the case. 

The charge is part of a wider federal bribery investigation in Atlanta that has been on going for two years.

The investigation came into the public eye in January when contractor Elvin Mitchell Jr. was charged and pleaded guilty to paying more than $1m in bribes to an unnamed person under the belief that some of the money would go to one or more city officials with influence over the contracting process.  

A second contractor, Charles Richards Jr. also pleaded guilty to a similar conspiracy charge in February. 

As part of their pleas, both contractors have agreed to testify against others.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for January 2018.

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