Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration last year withheld from the public a potentially explosive federal subpoena, concealing the full scope of the corruption investigation at City Hall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned.
The 10-point subpoena — dated Sept. 9, 2016, and kept from the public with Reed’s knowledge — included demands from federal prosecutors for information about lucrative construction and concessions contracts at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; vendors with close political ties to Reed; and financial records for three members of his cabinet.
“This is a serious subpoena,” said Caren Morrison, a law professor at Georgia State University who was a federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York. “It’s not a fishing expedition.”
In addition to being kept secret from the public, the subpoena was withheld from City Council, which voted to award four multi-million dollar contracts without knowing they were under federal investigation.
The disclosure would have significantly increased council scrutiny on the contractors before them, and possibly changed the political dynamic of the 2017 mayoral race, said Ceasar Mitchell, who was council president and a mayoral candidate last year. At the time, the council and the public knew of only two subpoenas, both of which suggested the federal inquiry was far narrower.
“I think the kinds of questions that I asked as council president, related to what was clear to me as a crisis of corruption, would have been asked earlier,” said Mitchell.