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Early release for former Atlanta official convicted of taking bribes

Atlanta City Hall. (Photo by David Pendered.)

By David Pendered

Atlanta’s former chief procurement officer was granted early release last week from federal custody for his conviction of taking bribes to steer millions of dollars in city contracts to a construction firm.

Adam Smith was discharged from supervised release by an order signed on Jan. 13 by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones. Smith was released about 15 months early on a three-year sentence of supervised release, according to terms in his sentencing order. Smith previously had served 27 months in federal prison, according to the order.

Smith pleaded guilty in September 2017 to one count of bribery in connection with charges that he accepted more than $40,000 in bribes. In exchange for the money, some of it exchanged in bathrooms at restaurants, Smith steered city contracts to PRAD Group or joint ventures with which the company was involved, court records show.

The man indicted on charges including paying Smith more than $40,000 in bribes faces a hearing in February in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

Lohrasb “Jeff” Jafari, the former executive vice president of PRAD Group, is expected to argue he should be allowed to present evidence that he’s a good person. The government contends the information is inadmissible and irrelevant, records show.

Jones, the same judge who released Smith, has not yet scheduled a hearing date for Jafari. A trial date has not been scheduled, according to court records.

Jafari is portrayed as a major player in alleged corruption at Atlanta City Hall during the administration of then-Mayor Kasim Reed. A federal grand jury indicted Jafari on 51 counts including bribery, witness tampering, tax evasion and money laundering for incidents involving city contracts alleged to have occurred while Reed was mayor.

In addition to the alleged payments to Atlanta’s former chief procurement officer, Jafari’s indictment alleges he bribed a former commissioner of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management. Jo Ann Macrina oversaw the multi-billion dollar construction program to upgrade the city’s sewer system in order to comply with a federal consent decree to stop polluting the Chattahoochee River.

Jafari is alleged to have paid Macrina, in April and May 2016, bribes including $10,000 in cash, jewelry, landscaping at her home and an unspecified number of nights at a luxury hotel in Dubai, UAE.

Smith, the former procurement officer, was sentenced to serve 27 months in federal prison. Following release from prison, Smith was sentenced to three years of supervised release. Smith was ordered to pay restitution of $44,000 to the City of Atlanta and a fine of $25,000, according to the Feb. 2, 2018 sentencing order signed by Jones.

Payments toward the fine and restitution were to be made with any wages he earned in prison. Any amount not paid by release from prison was to be paid at a monthly rate of at least $200 a month, plus 25 percent of gross income exceeding $2,500.

Terms of the supervised release include not leaving the North Georgia judicial district without prior approval; reporting each month to a parole officer; not drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or using illegal drugs, and not incurring new credit charges or opening new lines of credit without approval from the probation officer.

Smith requested early termination of his supervised release and the government did not object, according to the order Jones signed. The order does not elaborate.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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