ATLANTA - A bombshell was dropped Tuesday at Atlanta City Hall. The city's Chief Procurement Officer, Adam Smith, was fired. The city won’t say why.
Then, a short time later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized items from Smith’s City Hall procurement office where he has coordinated billions of dollars in contracts at the city.
Adam Smith has directed the city’s purchasing including all major city contracts since 2003. He is known as a behind the scenes department head, quietly moving about hallways at city hall, rarely seeking attention.
Back in 2012, he conducted a rare television interview in which he defended his decision to throw out bids for food and drink concessions at the airport and start all over. He told me neither he nor his staff had done anything wrong.
“I’ve not gone to jail, will not go to jail, I’m not going to lose my bar license,” Smith said.
The billion dollar contracts were rebid and critics charge saying Mayor Reed’s campaign contributors were the big winners. But Smith’s decision was vindicated, when the city won or settled all appeals.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday, in news that spread like wildfire through the halls of government, the city terminated Adam Smith, “effective immediately.”
Smith was escorted out of City Hall. Sources said following the termination, FBI agents arrived at City Hall, went back into his procurement office and seized his computer and his phone. No one is saying why Smith was fired or if the FBI seizing Smith’s computer and phone has anything to do with the ongoing City Hall bribery investigation.
To date, two construction contractors, E.R. Mitchell and Charles Richards have pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy. The U.S. Attorney has subpoenaed records relating to Mitzi Bickers, a onetime political consultant to Mayor Reed and a former city department head.