Ex-Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed apologizes for City Hall corruption investigation

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed apologized for the federal investigation of corruption at City Hall, saying he wished he would have spotted the issues sooner.

Reed made his comments Thursday, in an interview with Channel 2 Action News.

The former mayor told Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston that he still needs time before deciding if he will run for mayor. His comments come days after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced her decision to not seek a second term.

Reed also addressed the spike in Atlanta’s violent crime rate while boasting about his own public safety record as the city’s 59th mayor.

“I do know how to fix crime, and I do know I could turn our crime environment around in 180 days, and I know that I’ve done it before,” Reed said.

The FBI began investigating corruption at City Hall in mid-2015, and have charged six members of Reed’s administration — including his chief financial officer, a deputy chief and chief procurement officer. But Reed said in the interview that he is cleared because “the Justice Department under William Barr looked into every aspect of my life for more than three years and took no action.”

Reed also defended himself, saying the charges were only related to the “individual behavior” of certain people in his administration.

“First of all, it’s a 9,000-person organization. I don’t know if you expected me to follow Adam Smith into a bathroom. I would not do that,” Reed said, referring to the former city procurement chief’s acceptance of more than $30,000 in bribes.

Reed said if he decides to run for his old job, his new administration would “take even more extraordinary measures” to ensure corruption would not occur under his nose.

“Anything on my watch, I take responsibility for,” Reed said. “I’m sorry I didn’t see it faster, and certainly after what I’ve been through personally, but more importantly what our city was taken through, I would do everything in my power to make sure it didn’t happen again.”