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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

City of Atlanta’s former Chief Procurement Officer Adam Smith sentenced to federal prison for taking bribes

ATLANTA - Adam L. Smith, the former Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, has been sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to accept more than $40,000 in bribe payments from a vendor who obtained millions of dollars in city contracts.

 

“As the City of Atlanta’s Chief Procurement Officer, Smith was given great trust and power by its citizens.  He chose to serve his own financial interests rather than use that trust to serve the public,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “His prison sentence is a strong reminder to those tempted to trade their public positions and authority for money – the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will not stand idly by. To the contrary, we are committed to the investigation and prosecution of public corruption offenses to combat the corrosion of people’s trust in their government.”

 

“Let this sentence serve as a further reminder of the FBI’s commitment to hold public officials accountable by exposing those who engage in criminal conduct,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We ask that anyone who has information regarding similar actions by any public official to contact their nearest FBI field office.”

 

“Smith abused his position of authority for financial gain, and made a decision to accept bribes and award contracts which were not in the best interest of the public he was hired to serve,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Smith is being held accountable and the sentence given today should be a deterrence to those individuals who think that they can accept bribes without legal consequences.”

 

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: From 2003 to February 21, 2017, Smith served as the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, Georgia. As the Chief Procurement Officer, Smith oversaw the City of Atlanta’s purchasing activities and its expenditure of billions of dollars in public money for projects.

 

During Smith’s tenure as the Chief Procurement Officer, Atlanta awarded contracts worth millions of dollars to a particular vendor’s construction firm and joint venture projects of which the same vendor was a partner (the information does not identify the vendor by name).

 

From at least 2015 to January 2017, Smith met privately with the vendor on multiple occasions, frequently at local restaurants. During these meetings, Smith and the vendor discussed Atlanta procurement projects, bids, and solicitations. Often at the time of these meetings, the vendor was actively seeking contracts, projects, and work with Atlanta.

 

After most of these meetings, the vendor and Smith met in the restaurant’s bathroom, where the vendor paid Smith approximately $1,000 in cash. In return for the bribe payments, the vendor expected Smith to use his position and power to assist the vendor with contracting/procurement with Atlanta and to furnish the vendor with future benefits and favors when needed.

 

Given his position, Smith was annually required to sign a financial disclosure statement certifying that he had not received more than $5,000 in annual income from any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, other business entity, other than Atlanta.  Additionally, under Atlanta’s Procurement Code, Smith also had to “make a written determination as to the existence” of any “personal or organizational conflicts of interests exist” between vendors and Atlanta before awarding a vendor a solicited contract. Similarly, Atlanta’s Procurement Code mandated that Smith “certify to the city council” that the winning vendors had disclosed to Atlanta any “organizational and personal relationships” and that the “award of the contract [was] appropriate.”

 

Furthermore, in exchange for those cash payments:

 

  • Smith met with the vendor on a regular basis;
  • Smith provided the vendor with information and counsel regarding Atlanta’s procurement processes (among other information);
  • When the vendor’s firm or joint venture became the successful bidder on an Atlanta contract or Request for Proposal, Smith approved and submitted the award of such procurement projects or bids to Atlanta’s mayor and city council for final authorization;
  • Smith never disclosed his ongoing financial relationship with the vendor and/or the vendor’s firm on his Financial Disclosure Statements to Atlanta; and
  • Smith never advised Atlanta’s City Council that the vendor’s firm or joint venture had failed to disclose its organizational and personal relationships with him.

 

From 2015 to January 2017, the vendor paid Smith more than $40,000 in cash.

 

On September 25, 2017, Smith, 53, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to conspiratorial bribery.  He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven Jones to two years, three months in prison, three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $44,000 in restitution, and a $25,000 fine.

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation investigated this case.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis, Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill E. Steinberg, Deputy Criminal Division Chief, and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine prosecuted the case.

 

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Updated January 16, 2018