Executives guilty of bribing DeKalb department manager

Brian Domalik, John Rife and Anthony Lepore are former Rite Way Services executives whom a jury convicted of conspiracy and bribery.

Credit: Mark Niesse

Credit: Mark Niesse

Brian Domalik, John Rife and Anthony Lepore are former Rite Way Services executives whom a jury convicted of conspiracy and bribery.

With an inside man working for both DeKalb County and the Georgia World Congress Center, three executives of a cleaning company had a recipe to drum up business.

They showered their contact with a luxury Midtown apartment, cash payments and furniture. In exchange, he used his jobs to steer contracts and fees worth millions of dollars to the janitorial services company.

The scheme amounted to bribery, conspiracy and fraud, according to a federal jury that found each of the former executives guilty of multiple felonies.

“This case highlights how public corruption offenses harm our communities,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn in a statement Friday. “You have greedy company executives who seek an unfair advantage over their competitors, and a crooked public official who is willing to sell their power for personal gain.”

After a nearly two-week trial, the jury convicted former Rite Way CEO Anthony Lepore, 64; former Rite Way Regional Vice President John Rife, 66; and former Rite Way Division Manager Brian Domalik, 49, on Thursday.

They're the latest defendants likely heading to prison on public corruption charges connected to DeKalb's government. Their sentencing hasn't been scheduled, and none of their attorneys returned phone calls seeking comment Friday afternoon.

Others who have done time include former DeKalb Commissioner Elaine Boyer, who bilked taxpayers of more than $100,000 through kickbacks and personal spending; DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, who attempted to extort campaign contributions from county contractors; and former Zoning Board of Appeals member Jerry Clark, who took bribes for a favorable zoning decision for a nightclub.

The three Rite Way executives conspired to bribe Patrick Jackson with more than $100,000 for rent, utilities and a garage lease for a luxury Midtown apartment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In addition, payments included $24,000 in furniture for the apartment, a $5,100 deposit for a party at the Waverly Renaissance Hotel and other benefits.

Jackson was also being paid more than $65,000 a year in his job as DeKalb’s custodial services manager and more than $86,000 a year working in a similar job for the Georgia World Congress Center.

Jackson’s double-employment ploy unraveled in 2012, when his bosses in DeKalb found a 2-year-old issue of Waste & Recycling News with his photo on the cover, identifying him as the World Congress Center’s head of building services.

When the county and Georgia World Congress Center questioned him, he quit.

Jackson, 55, pleaded guilty in April 2015 and was sentenced to serve four years and three months in federal prison. A former division manager for Rite Way Services, Cecil Clark, 55, also pleaded guilty in May 2015 to conspiring to bribe Jackson. He was sentenced to serve one year and five months in federal prison.

“The FBI, along with its law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors, will not tolerate those who interfere with or unduly influence the established and proper procedures of our public officials and the offices that they represent,” George Crouch, acting special agent in charge for the FBI Atlanta Field Office, said in a statement.

Both DeKalb and the World Congress Center stopped doing business with Rite Way Services, which is under new ownership.