ATLANTA – The estranged wife of a contractor who has admitted to bribing city officials said her name was improperly used in the scheme.
Elvin Mitchell recently pleaded guilty to bribing unnamed city officials with more than $1 million in exchange for City of Atlanta construction contracts.
In divorce papers, his wife, Majorie Mitchell, alleges that he used her name on city documents.
Marjorie Mitchell claims her estranged husband borrowed all the equity in both of the couple’s homes and emptied out their children's trust funds without her knowledge or permission. Her attorney, Esther Panitch, said that money may have gone toward bribes to an as yet unnamed city official.
“We know somebody inside took money; we just don't know who or how,” Panitch said.
Elvin Mitchell is awaiting sentencing on federal bribery and conspiracy charges. He has agreed to testify in court about the scheme that goes back five years and could implicate others at city hall.
In 2015, someone threw a brick with the words "Shut up" threw Mitchell's window, and scattered dead rats on the front steps of his home.
“She had no idea what he was up to,” Panitch said. “He was apparently lying to everybody.”
Panitch said Mitchell fraudulently used his wife's name on city bids to get preferential treatment as a minority, female-owned business.
It’s not yet known what happened to the millions of dollars in city money that Elvin Mitchell received, or who else was involved in the bribery scheme.
City Hall officials have responded to open records requests by promising to release more than a
million pages of documents later this week. That makes finding answers to those questions like finding a needle in a haystack.
“It appears that they're trying to bury everyone in documents, so we can't find what we need to find, which not the purpose of the open records act,” Panitch said.
The mayor's office has said they are cooperating fully with federal investigators in the case.
DOCUMENTS | Read the subpoena