Two Atlanta Contractors Sentenced In City Hall Bribery Scandal

A federal judge handed prison sentences to two Atlanta contractors Tuesday for their role in a pay-to-play scheme at Atlanta City Hall.

E.R. Mitchell and Charles Richards both admitted to paying money to win city contracts earlier this year. But their sentencing hearings were distinct.

Mitchell gave more than $1 million in bribes, and he didn’t object to Judge Steve Jones’ five-year sentence. His attorney said he hoped Mitchell’s cooperation with federal prosecutors would reduce his time in prison.

Richards, meanwhile, asked the judge to consider the smaller part he played. His attorney emphasized that his bribes were a fraction of Mitchell’s — just under $200,000.

Richard’s attorney even brought forward six witnesses, who spoke of his good character and his investment in his community.

Ultimately, the judge sided with prosecutors and sentenced Richards to 27 months in prison.

The judge told both men that the foundation of government is trust and confidence, and what they did cracked that foundation.

In addition to their prison sentences, Mitchell and Richards will have to pay restitution to Atlanta taxpayers. Mitchell owes $1,120,535, and Richards is on the hook for $193,000.