City pays $1.8 million for jobs program, ex-contractor prosecuted

A former Atlanta contractor faces possible prison time and the city must pay $1.86 million for a jobs program that an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found gave grants to businesses that hired phantom workers and conducted token or non-existent training.

The settlement reached with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor was over federal subsidies to employers that provided on-the-job training after the Great Recession.

A May 2014 AJC investigation revealed that the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency recklessly awarded the grant money to city insiders for so-called participants — many who did not know they were part of a program at all.

Unwittingly or not, a convicted murderer, a Metro Atlanta Chamber Business Person of the Year, the police chief's son and the owner of a fitness center where the agency's executive director exercised were caught up in this government giveaway.

An attorney for entrepreneur Kevin Edwards, who was investigated by the AJC, said he plans to take full responsibility for his actions. He is set for a plea hearing Dec. 13 in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on a felony charge of stealing grant funds and knowingly converting them to his own use.

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