Key name emerges in city bribery investigation

Who is Mitzi Bickers?

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The woman at the center of the Atlanta City Hall bribery investigation spent two months working for the man who has already pleaded guilty in this case.

A federal subpoena, part of the 1.4 million documents released by the city, shows federal investigators started looking into Mitzi Bickers back in August.

That's a full three months before the feds asked for information about Elvin Mitchell and CP Richards, the two contractors who have been arrested in this case.

Bickers, who filed for bankruptcy in 2004, disclosed that she worked for Mitchell for two months. She earned $5,400.

Mitchell pleaded guilty last month to bribing a city official in order to obtain contracts.

Bickers has not been charged.

Mitzi Bickers, who serves as Pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church, has had her hands on every branch of Atlanta government.

In 2003 she ran unsuccessfully for chair of the Fulton County Commission. She was also President of the Atlanta School Board. And in 2009, she helped Mayor Kasim Reed win a razor-thin election.

"She worked on my campaign and helped get me elected Mayor. That's true and well known.  She was given a job from 2010 to 2013," said Mayor Kasim Reed, who wouldn't confirm or deny that Bickers is the center of the investigation.

Bickers ran the Department of Human Services from 2010 to 2013. Her duties included running city programs to help the homeless and distributing federal and local funding to homeless shelters and other service organizations. She left her job with the city after allegations that she lied about how much money she was bringing in on the side.

11Alive tried to get a hold of Bickers for the last two days. On Friday, we went to the headquarters for her political consulting firm Pirouette Companies. It's a PO box at a UPS store.

Around the time the feds starting looking into Bickers, she was named in a federal lawsuit in Mississippi.

A former city employee named Kimberly Bracey sued Mayor Tony Yarber for sexual harassment. The lawsuit claims Bickers hosted fundraisers at her home in Henry County with "strippers wearing only body paint."

RELATED | Atlanta woman's parties at center of allegations against Mississippi mayor

The suit also alleges Bickers arranged sexual favors for the Mayor of Jackson. Mayor Yarber denies those claims and has filed a counter-suit.

Bickers has not responded to repeated requests for comments.

Other findings in the documents

Thousands of the 1.4 million pages of documents released by the mayor's office Thursday are mostly routine interoffice emails about staff meetings and city services.

City Councilman Howard Shook reviewed some of the documents and said that many of the Excel spreadsheets are unreadable, and many boxes contain hundreds of blank pages.

Among the Bickers documents is a series of emails about a federal grant to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to provide non-violence training to Atlanta youth. That was administered by Bicker's office.

Justice Department investigators conducted an audit and found roughly $100,000 was unaccounted for. 

The documents don't indicate how the audit was resolved and none of the emails in the boxes contain the attachments from the original emails. 

RELATED | City's ‘document dump' costs taxpayers thousands

AND | City releases 1.4M documents related to bribery scandal

City bribery scandal widens as another contractor charged

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