Attorney identifies former DeKalb official in corruption probe

A man who was once DeKalb County’s deputy chief operating officer is identified in a new court document as the person believed to have accepted a bribe in a federal corruption case.

Attorney Steven Sadow said Morris Williams is the person accused of taking a bribe from Sadow’s client, Lohrasb “Jeff” Jafari. Jafari was indicted on 51 federal charges in March as part of the Atlanta City Hall corruption investigation.

One of the charges is that he paid off an unnamed DeKalb County official in 2014.

2016 VIDEO: Previous coverage of Morris Williams

Williams was the county commission’s chief of staff for the first part of the year, but in June 2014 he was appointed by interim CEO Lee May to serve as the deputy chief operating officer over public works and infrastructure. He resigned abruptly in March 2015.

Read more | Atlanta City Hall probe seeps into DeKalb with bribery indictment

Sadow on Monday filed a request asking for information about the government’s case against Jafari, including the total amount that prosecutors believe the official received. In that motion, Sadow wrote that this DeKalb agent is “believed to be Morris Williams” and asks whether anyone else is accused of paying bribes to him.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was unable to reach Williams for comment on Monday or Tuesday.

On the day that Jafari was arrested, a reporter visited Williams’ home to speak to him about rumors of his involvement in the case.

A man at the home did not respond to questions or follow up requests for comment.

Williams has been involved in other controversies tied to his tenure in DeKalb.

Read more | Former commissioner Sutton latest to face corruption charges in DeKalb

He and a contractor in DeKalb were convicted in 2017 of charges related to a check written in the name of May, whose signature was forged. The check was intended to reimburse May for repairs after a sewage spill at his home, but investigators never determined who received the $4,000 after the check was cashed.

Former DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton was indicted in May on charges that she accepted $1,000 in bribes from a subcontractor in 2014. The indictment said Barnes used a former chief of staff turned deputy chief operating officer as the middle man between her and the contractor. The description of that county official fits Williams.