ICYMI: Three big stories metro Atlantans were checking out this week

CITY BONUSES FACE SCRUTINY: On Tuesday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News reported that former Mayor Kasim Reed handed out more than $518,000 in bonuses and year-end payments to select staff members, some as high as $15,000 each, as he left office. Some $67,000 was handed out in raffles and contests at an end-of-year holiday party.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ chief of staff told the City Council’s finance committee on Wednesday that the administration thinks the bonuses were “excessive.” The committee has called for an independent review of the payments to determine if they were legal. Meanwhile, some employees, including Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, returned or declined the bonuses.

Reed's response and others' reaction: Behind the bonuses

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

MCIVER GUILTY: After more than 27 hours of deliberation and telling the judge they were deadlocked, the jury hearing the murder case against Claud "Tex" McIver decided two hours later that he was guilty. A majority of the jurors wanted to convict McIver on felony involuntary manslaughter, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. But a small minority of jurors insisted on a conviction for malice murder, the most serious of the charges against the 75-year-old Buckhead attorney who said he accidentally shot and killed his wife, Diane, while he was in the back seat of their vehicle in 2016. They settled on finding him guilty of felony murder, a distinction without a difference for the defendant, since it carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. An appeal will be forthcoming, defense co-counsel Don Samuel said Tuesday.

The verdict: Jurors didn't buy Tex McIver's story

The jury's deliberations: Sentencing ahead for McIver

The estate: What happens now to Diane McIver's money

Recap of the case: Coverage of the trial from start to finish, including links to the AJC Breakdown podcast on the case



HANNITY'S GEORGIA PROPERTY: Sean Hannity, a former talk-radio host in Atlanta who has become one of the nation's most popular television and radio conservative commentators, has amassed a real-estate portfolio worth about $90 million, most of it rental homes in Georgia and six other states.

Hannity’s real-estate holdings were first disclosed Monday by the British newspaper The Guardian. The newspaper’s report followed the revelation from the previous week that Hannity is a client of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. Federal agents raided Cohen’s office and hotel earlier this month, seeking, among other items, documents on Cohen’s $130,000 payment to a pornographic film actress who says she had a sexual affair with Trump several years ago. Hannity has said he consulted Cohen only about real-estate matters.

Since 2005, Hannity has created 28 limited-liability companies under variations of the name “SPMK,” according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. His name does not appear on publicly filed corporate documents, but he has signed loan papers that identified him as the firms’ owner.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development guaranteed about $22 million in loans on two of Hannity’s apartment complexes in Georgia.

Real-estate deals: A Kennesaw firm's connection

Hannity named in hearing: Who are Michael Cohen's clients?