Former Atlanta City Official Charged In Bribery Scandal

The City of Atlanta’s former chief procurement has pleaded guilty to a one-time, federal conspiracy charge, which is a lesser charge than bribery.

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U.S. Attorney John Horn said Adam Smith, 53, took more than $30,000, from 2015 to January 2017, from an unnamed vendor in exchange for information and council about the city’s procurement process as well as specific bids.

Horn said Smith would meet the vendor at local restaurants but wouldn’t say who the vendor or the company the vendor is associated with is since it is an ongoing investigation.

“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,” Horn said.

Smith was also required to sign an annual financial disclosure statement “certifying that he had not received more than $5,000 in annual income” from other revenue streams.

“This is a horrible day and a horrible time in Mr. Smith’s life,” said Brian Steel, Smith’s attorney. “I firmly believe Mr. Smith will continue to do great things in his life and this criminal conduct will not define him.”

WABE’s legal analyst Page Pate said in cases like this, it’s likely prosecutors and Smith’s lawyer reached a plea deal because Smith has information the government wants.

“If there was nobody above Smith, there would really be no reason for the government to want Smith to cooperate,” Pate said. “So they’re giving Smith the deal to try and get to someone else, presumably someone higher in the food chain. What happens now in the overall investigation is very uncertain. What information does Smith have? And against whom?”

Mayor Kasim Reed fired Smith in February. The same day, federal agents confiscated Smith’s computer and other materials from his office.

Smith will be sentenced in January and could face up to five years in prison.

Two former city vendors have already pleaded guilty to bribing city officials for contracts.