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Mayor Reed on corruption case: Bickers did not report to me

Crime scene photos from the Atlanta Police Department show a brick that landed in Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell’s home in southwest Atlanta in September 2015. Mitchell is a key figure in a federal criminal probe of city of Atlanta contracting.
Crime scene photos from the Atlanta Police Department show a brick that landed in Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell’s home in southwest Atlanta in September 2015. Mitchell is a key figure in a federal criminal probe of city of Atlanta contracting.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Thursday distanced himself from a former city employee identified by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News as having a close connection to the man arrested for intimidating a key federal witness in the on-going City Hall bribery scandal.

The AJC reported Wednesday that Mitzi Bickers, who worked as the city's director of human relations from 2010-13 and consulted for Reed's mayoral campaign, employed the man arrested for throwing a brick through a window of Elvin "E.R." Mitchell and placing dead rats around his home.

Bickers said in an ethics filing on record at City Hall that she served as an employee “in the office of the Mayor who reports directly to the Mayor.”

“The ethics document is incorrect,” Reed said. “She was not a direct report to my office. She did report to the chief of staff.” Reed added that only his chief of staff and chief operating officer report directly to him.

Mitchell, 63, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to conspiring to commit bribery and launder money to receive city construction contracts. Federal prosecutors say Mitchell paid more than $1 million to an unidentified person, who then ferried the money to one or more other city officials with influence over awarding city contracts. Prosecutors say Mitchell's company received contracts worth millions of dollars between 2010 and 2015.

As part of his plea, he has agreed to cooperate with the on-going federal probe and testify against others if they are charged.

Bickers, a pastor who also worked for one of Mitchell’s companies, has not responded to requests for comment.

“Rev. Bickers was not in the operational area,” Reed said. “She was in the human services area because she had worked on my political campaign for mayor and she was a reverend in the community.”

ExploreThe brick thrown through Mitchell’s window had “ER, keep your mouth shut !!!” and “Shut up” written on it.

Shandarrick L. Barnes, the man arrested in the incident, worked as chief financial officer for Bicker’s public relations company from 2004-2010, according to business filings with the state.