Between 2010 and 2018, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration appeared to be one of progress and new opportunities, not only for the city but also many entrepreneurs.
The city saw unparalleled growth that included laying the foundation for the film industry in the region. Most would agree that Reed was doing good for the city.
However, almost a year since his tenure ended, several former city officials with direct ties to Reed’s inner circle are facing federal charges. The latest is Katrina Taylor-Parks, Reed’s former deputy chief of staff.
This morning, information was unsealed in court charging Taylor-Parks with accepting bribes from a vendor in 2013. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the charging documents stated that the money was given to either Taylor-Parks or her husband DeAnthony Parks. Parks was also charged with entering false statements on financial disclosures and concealing her role as a city official. She was expected to appear before a federal magistrate today.
Last year, many in the Atlanta were shocked when the city’s former chief procurement officer, Adam Smith, was arrested and sentenced for crimes during the Reed administration. Then in April 2018, Mitzi Bickers, the city’s former head of the Department of Human Services, was indicted on charges that included two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, three counts of money laundering, three counts of wire fraud, one count of witness tampering, and one count of filing false tax returns. All of this surrounded the scandal-plagued system that was in place to do business with the city. It has been an issue that seems to have plagued the city since the tenure of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell.
In 2004, Campbell was indicted on federal charges of racketeering, bribery and wire fraud. The charges came after a five-year federal investigation into possible corruption during his tenure as mayor. Campbell was later acquitted on all charges related to the indictments, however, on March 10, 2006, a federal jury convicted him on three counts of tax evasion. Campbell was sentenced to 30 months in prison for the three counts of tax evasion. He also was ordered to serve a year on probation, pay a $6,000 fine, and pay more than $60,000 in back taxes. He was released from prison in 2008.
When Atlanta’s first female mayor, Shirley Franklin, took office, she faced a daunting challenge of fixing a system of kickbacks and bribery that included issues with the city’s water department as well as fallout from the Campbell investigation. Even former President George Bush encouraged her to WHAT? when he visited the city during her first term in office. Eventually, Franklin cleaned house and paved the way for Reed. Now with Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms in office, it seems that another Black woman is playing cleanup in the aftermath of corruption in Atlanta.