Jo Ann Macrina

Atlanta subpoenaed for records of former Watershed manager

The U. S. Attorney’s Office has issued another subpoena for records related to one of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s top cabinet officials, former Watershed Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina, whom Reed fired in May 2016.

In the subpoena, which is dated Wednesday, Federal prosecutors are specifically seeking Macrina’s travel expenses during her last five months on the job, the ethics pledges she signed, any requests she made to perform outside work and her financial disclosures.

Macrina is among at least dozen high-profile former city employees and contractors under the Reed administration who have been the subject of records requests from federal investigators.

In 2011, Reed appointed her to the top job in the city’s Department of Watershed Management earning $185,000 to oversee the city’s sewer and water distribution systems. Her tenure was marked by repeated run-ins with city council, complaints about sewage spills and over-billing water customers.

City leaders discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing or stolen equipment in the department, including industrial water meters worth $5,200, copper and pipes. More than a dozen Watershed employees were fired and seven were later indicted for the thefts. One audit found security in Macrina’s department was so lax that it was impossible to know how much equipment was stolen or missing.

During the three-year-old corruption investigation at City Hall, Reed’s former Chief Procurement Officer, Deputy Chief of Staff and Contract Compliance Officer have pled guilty to various charges involving fraud, bribery and false tax filings. An essential part of the governments’ indictments have involved the failure to disclose outside income as required on their financial fillings.

City employees must disclose income in excess of $5,000 in any given year from any non-city business.

Last month, Contract Compliance Officer Larry Scott pled guilty to wire fraud and making false statements on his tax returns. Prosecutors alleged that Scott had received more than $220,000 over a five-year period from a side business that helped contractors obtain government work, including work with the city of Atlanta.

With his guilty plea, Scott admitted that he knew the city would have fired him if he had disclosed his Cornerstone income.

According to financial disclosures available on the city’s ethics office website reviewed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Macrina did not indicate that she received more than $5,000 income from a non-city source in any of the years she worked for the city.

At the time of her firing, Macrina was under criticism for taking an April 2016 speaking engagement at a global water summit in Abu Dhabi. She disclosed that an outside source paid $5,721 for the trip.

Macrina did not immediately return a voice message on Thursday.

Macrina was previously named in a subpoena from September 2016 that sought “personnel, employment and disciplinary records” for Macrina, former Airport General Manager Miguel Southwell, and former Chief Procurement Officer Adam Smith.

Smith is now serving a 27-month federal prison sentence for his role in a city hall bribery scheme.

The September 2016 subpoena also demanded that the city turn over records about Watershed contracts that had been awarded to companies run by Lohrasb “Jeff” Jafari, a longtime city of Atlanta contractor, who faces 51 counts of bribery, money laundering, tax evasion and tampering with a witness.

Georgia State Law Professor Jessica Cino told Channel 2 Action News that the scope of Wednesday’s subpoena was remarkably narrow.

“It tells me that they’ve already got information from the earlier subpoena that tipped them off to the specific things that they asking for in this particular subpoena,” Cino said. “There’s something they uncovered that led them to have that narrow of a subpoena.”

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