DeKalb County’s ties to a company that has become part of the Atlanta City Hall investigation go deeper than initially disclosed.
County officials now say that addition to what was already known, the PRAD Group was also paid $563,975 for work on a public safety building and was likely a subcontractor on a lucrative wastewater facility project.
It is unknown how much the company was paid, if anything, for that job.
Lohrasb “Jeff” Jafari, the former executive vice president of PRAD Group, was indicted on multiple bribery charges on March 6. Among the accusations is that he paid bribes to an unnamed DeKalb official in 2014.
After his indictment became public, county officials said they could only find documents related to a single contract with PRAD, a 2004 award that paid the company $719,096 to design and construct a new facilities management building.
However, PRAD Group boasts of additional work in DeKalb on its website. The company says it had a hand in building or renovating the county courthouse, juvenile detention center, jail and police and fire headquarters.
On March 12, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked the county for information about those projects. Officials said this week that after digging deeper into their records they found that PRAD was paid a total of $563,975 for a handful projects at the office complex in the city of Tucker that houses the police and fire departments and the county’s 911 call center.
The county did not say whether there is any evidence the company performed work at the other facilities in DeKalb listed on its website. Those buildings could be controlled by other governmental entities besides the central county governments.
Channel 2 Action News also discovered that PRAD was listed a subcontractor for a company that won a lucrative $17.5 million contract in DeKalb in 2013. That company, Tetra Tech, was named in a February federal subpoena that DeKalb County received.
That subpoena appeared to be related to an ongoing investigation of former DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton. The records requested include any budget amendments or requests in 2016 that affect District 4, Sutton’s old seat.
The subpoena also asked the county to supply documents related to the Atlanta-based Bell & Washington law firm, whose partner once represented Sutton.
However, the same subpoena also asked for documents related to three firms who were awarded contracts in DeKalb through its purchasing and procurement office. In addition to Tetra Tech, documents were requested for the companies Environmental Consortium and Metals and Materials Engineers. All three have received millions in contracts for work aiding DeKalb’s Department of Watershed Management.
When Tetra Tech submitted its bid for the 2013 contract, it said that PRAD Group and Environmental Consortium would be part of the team. Jafari was listed as PRAD’s representative.
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