Adam L. Smith, the former Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept more than $30,000 in bribe payments from a vendor who obtained millions of dollars in City contracts.
“Great trust was placed in Smith as Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta, and he abused his position to serve his own financial interests,” said U.S. Attorney John A. Horn. “Public corruption offenses, like Smith’s, can erode the confidence that the people have in government.”
“The guilty plea of former City of Atlanta Procurement Officer Adams in federal court [on Sept. 26, 2017], will ensure that he is held accountable for his greed based criminal conduct as he now awaits sentencing. It is hoped that this case serves as notice to others that similar such conduct among public officials will not be condoned and that there are severe consequences should that notice go unheeded,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.
“Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to obey laws and ethical principles above private gain. Smith abused his public trust to enrich himself at a cost to the taxpayers,” said James E. Dorsey, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “We will continue to work with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in making these public corruption investigations a priority.”
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court, Smith served as the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Atlanta from 2003 to February 21, 2017, overseeing the City’s purchasing activities and its expenditure of billions of dollars in public money for projects.
The conspiracy charge filed by Horn’s office refers to a “vendor” represented by an executive with a construction firm in Atlanta, but does not identify either the vendor or the executive by name. During Smith’s tenure as the Chief Procurement Officer for the City, he awarded contracts worth millions of dollars to the vendor’s firm and joint venture projects of which the vendor was a partner.
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 as Atlanta’s Chief Procurement Officer 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 required to sign annually a financial disclosure statement certifying that he had not received more than $5,000 in annual income from any corporation, partnership, proprietorship, or 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 interest 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.
In total, from at least 2015 to January 2017, the vendor paid Smith more than $30,000 in cash.
Adam L. Smith, 53, pleaded guilty to conspiratorial bribery. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 16, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation are investigating this case.
See federal conspiracy charge here: Conspiracy Charge – Adam Smith – 09.26.2017