City releases 1.4M documents related to bribery scandal

On Thursday, officials plan to release more than 1.4 million documents related to a city bribery scandal that's coming to light.

ATLANTA -- Officials released more than 1.4 million documents related to a city bribery scandal that's coming to light.

Last month, Elvin Mitchell pleaded guilty to bribing unnamed city officials with more than $1 million in exchange for City of Atlanta construction contracts. Mitchell owns Cascade Building System and ER Mitchell Group. On Wednesday, a second contractor, Charles P. Richards Jr., was also charged after prosecutors alleged he paid more than $185,000 to unnamed city officials for construction contracts for his company CP Richards Construction. 

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So far, those city officials accused of accepting the bribes have not been named, although City Hall officials have responded to open records requests by releasing 1.4 million pages of documents related to the scandal.

After news of the bribery investigation broke, the mayor's office responded, saying they are cooperating fully with federal investigators in the case.

Multiple crews from 11Alive were at City Hall Thursday for the the release of the documents and an 11:30 a.m. news conference where Mayor Kasim Reed addressed the room.

During the conference, Reed expressed his anger and frustration over the bribery scandal, which come at the tail end of his second term as mayor. 

"We want every person who did wrong to be punished," he said while standing before a wall covered in boxes containing a fraction of the documents. "Wherever there is a problem, we want the problem rooted out."

Members of the media will be allowed to sift through the boxes and boxes of documents for the next several days, though it's unclear what they may contain. Reed himself even stated that he and his staff have "no idea" what's inside.

While media will not be able to remove any of the documents from the City Hall, Reed said professionals will be on hand to help go through more than 400 boxes.

According to Reed, electronic copies of the 1.4 million pages were provided to federal investigators, while members of the media were provided hard copies in order to protect any sensitive personal information contained in the paperwork, including social security numbers and the like. 

11Alive investigator did the math and calculated just how much the document dump costs. There are 1.476 million sheets of paper documents contained inside the boxes. One tree makes about 8,300 sheets of paper, meaning roughly 177 trees were used to provide all the documents.

Each ream of paper contains almost 3,000 or about 295 boxes of paper. If a box of the cheapest paper available from Office Depot costs about $21.99, that means the document dump cost taxpayers about $6,400 in paper alone.

11Alive investigators will continue to sift through the documents and report on any developments in the coming days.

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