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Atlanta Official Who Admitted To Accepting Bribes Headed To Prison

Tuesday’s sentencing of Adam Smith was part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption at Atlanta’s City Hall.
Tuesday’s sentencing of Adam Smith was part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption at Atlanta’s City Hall.
Credit Dario Lopez-Mills / Associated Press file

An Atlanta government official who admitted to accepting bribes is heading to federal prison for more than two years.

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The sentencing of Adam Smith on Tuesday was part of an ongoing federal investigation into corruption at City Hall.

Smith was Atlanta’s chief procurement officer for more than a decade, starting in former Mayor Shirley Franklin’s term.

In the last two of those years, he took more than 40 bribes, totaling more than $40,000.

Federal prosecutors stressed in court that it was a serious crime, but they didn’t pursue the harshest punishment. In fact, they requested his sentence be cut nearly in half.

Atlanta’s U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak explained that Smith had cooperated with investigators from the moment he was caught.

“What he has done is provided substantial assistance to our investigation, and that assistance is expected to continue,” Pak said.

The government confirmed Smith wore a wire for prosecutors but wouldn’t comment about the content of those recordings.

Smith’s supporters packed the courtroom for the sentencing hearing. They included colleagues from Morehouse College and Friendship Baptist Church.

Those who gave testimony said that Smith was an upstanding person, and the bribery scandal was just a blip.

Smith himself spoke to the federal judge, listing his accomplishments as leader of the procurement office and saying he knew he made mistakes.

“I lost my moral compass,” Smith said. “I take full responsibility.”

Smith will have to pay back the bribes he received as well as a $25,000 fine.

Last October, two Atlanta contractors were sentenced to federal prison for paying more than $1 million in bribes to win city bids.