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Feds: Owner Paid $1M in Bribes for Jobs

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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An Atlanta-based construction executive has admitted to bribing city officials in order to obtain lucrative business deals on high-profile public projects.

Elvin R. Mitchell Jr., 63, the owner of E.R. Mitchell Company, Cascade Building System LLC, E.R. Mitchell Group Inc. and EC & WT Construction Company Inc. (dba E.R. Construction Company), was accused of conspiratorial bribery and money laundering for allegedly paying more than $1 million in bribes to city of Atlanta officials over a five-year period.

Atlanta Airport
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Elvin R. Mitchell Jr.'s businesses were said to have been awarded contracts at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

A spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said Mitchell has pleaded guilty, but his sentencing hearing has not been set.

“Mitchell brazenly sought to buy government contracts,” U.S. Attorney John A. Horn said in the press release announcing the charges. “Contractors who bribe their way into public work undermine the integrity of the system and ultimately cost taxpayers more money to get important projects done.”

High-Profile Player

Mitchell’s businesses have been connected to several high-profile projects including work at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the city’s new courthouse, as well as the DeKalb County Schools, Atlanta Loop reports, citing public records.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also highlights numerous projects the companies have been involved in, describing him as “one of the city’s best-known minority contractors and a company that has been a fixture in the region’s public procurement scene for decades.”

From 2010 to August 2015, prosecutors say Mitchell and “another person in the construction industry” agreed to pay and did pay a unidentified city official over $1 million in exchange for government construction contracts. The charging document said Mitchel believed that some of the money would be paid to city authorities who exercised influence over the contracting process.

Authorities say Mitchell attempted to conceal the source of the money and attempted to evade federal currency transaction reporting by making cash withdraws in amounts under $10,000.

Investigation Continues

The FBI and the criminal investigation division of the IRS are leading the investigation, which could result in charges against additional parties involved, local reports relate.

“The public contracting process should be one of integrity and fairness,” Special Agent in Charge Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot said in a statement. “Those who elect to pay illegal bribes to further their business interests should know that they are not beyond the reach of the law.”

   

Tagged categories: Airports; Business matters; Commercial Construction; Construction; Criminal acts; Ethics; Fraud; Good Technical Practice; Project Management

Comment from David Morgan, (2/8/2017, 5:43 AM)

Those who receive bribe money and take action to influence the contracting process should also be identified and prosecuted.


Comment from Jim Schrecengost, (2/8/2017, 8:26 AM)

Those who accept illegal bribes should not be beyond the reach of the law either.


Comment from wd cameron, (2/8/2017, 10:05 AM)

How about the criminal officials?


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