A Mississippi lawsuit accuses two from Atlanta in alleged bid-rigging

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A Mississippi lawsuit accuses two from Atlanta in alleged bid-rigging

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LEVETTE BAGWELL
Mitzi Bickers, a former chair of the Atlanta school board, is also a former city of Atlanta employee. She is accused in a lawsuit in Mississippi of being involved in bid-rigging for contracts in the city of Jackson. On Thursday, documents released by the city of Atlanta shows Bickers was an early subject of a growing federal investigation into bribes paid to unnamed Atlanta officials for contracts. AJC File Photo from 1999

A recent federal lawsuit in Jackson, Miss., alleges that one current and one former member of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration were involved in bid-rigging in that city.

Mitzi Bickers, who former worked in the Reed administration in human services and played a key role in his 2009 election, is accused of being involved in a scheme where contracts were steered to supporters of Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber. Bickers emerged Thursday as a named subject of a growing federal investigation into bribes related to Atlanta city contracts.

Also identified in the complaint is Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Kishia Powell, who the lawsuit contends steered bids to donors of Yarber when she was Jackson’s public works director in 2015. One of the favored groups Powell allegedly steered a bid to in Jackson included Bickers as a partner, according to the lawsuit.

Powell, through her attorney, denied the allegations, which were contained in an employment lawsuit in federal court in Mississippi. Neither Powell nor Bickers are defendants in the case.

The Mississippi bid-rigging allegations are contained in a suit filed this month by former Jackson Equal Business Opportunity Manager Stephanie Coleman.

In her lawsuit, Coleman alleges Yarber and the city of Jackson “unlawfully retaliated” against her for refusing to take part in illegal acts. Coleman also alleges sexual harassment and sexual discrimination by officials in the Yarber administration.

Numerous attempts to reach Bickers over the past few weeks have been unsuccessful. Yarber’s office declined to comment citing the pending litigation.

Read the details of the allegations on MyAJC.com, click here.

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