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Key Atlanta bribery figure cashed in during winter storms

The Atlanta contractor who has pleaded guilty to bribery at City Hall cashed in on a February 2014 ice storm, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation found.

Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell’s Cascade Building Systems earned $5.3 million from the city and got 65 percent of the work during the time he has admitted paying at least $188,000 in bribes to win city contracts.

The prices Mitchell charged far exceeded price quotes from other companies, the AJC and Channel 2 found.

The mayor says he's disappointed in this latest development.

In one case, Cascade charged city taxpayers an overtime rate of $442 an hour for each of 20 plows with front-end loaders — about $200 an hour more than price quotes provided by three other companies that performed work for the city during the storm. 

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The AJC and Channel 2 had previously reported that the city paid Cascade approximately $7.3 million in emergency contracts during the two 2014 winter storms, and another in 2011. But a trove of documents released by Reed’s administration two weeks ago reveal new details about Cascade’s emergency contract work that were previously unavailable to the public.

AJC business reporter Scott Trubey walks us through the room where the 1.4 million pages released in the Atlanta city hall bribery case are being held. What is he finding? A lot of blank pages. (www.accessatlanta.com)

Reed said public safety, and not cost, was the issue on which his administration focused on during the storms.

“We were trying to get the city back moving again,” Reed said. “I wasn’t thinking about anyone engaging in fraud, theft or stealing.”

Mitchell has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and launder money in the scheme.

Read more about how the city selected Mitchell’s company for emergency work on myAJC.com.

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