Former Fanplex chief pleads guilty to stealing from Atlanta-Fulton Rec Authority

The former head of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority plead guilty Friday afternoon to seven theft charges leveled more than three years ago, District Attorney Paul Howard's office announced.

Davetta Johnson Mitchell, facing up to 95 years in prison and a fine of $100,000, opted for a plea deal that will keep her out of jail. Instead she'll serve five years probation, the district attorney's office said, and pay a fine of $20,000, half of which was due Friday. She'll have the next five years to pay the remainder of that fine.

The former city councilwoman was accused of stealing $30,000 from the authority during a three-year period that ended in 2003. According to investigators, Mitchell, appointed director in 1997 by former Mayor Bill Campbell, wrote checks to herself on the city's dime for vacation and sick leave she had not earned.

She was already being paid $118,000 to run the authority. Her tenure was marked by the launch of Fanplex, a mini golf and arcade facility mired in debt almost from the day it opened. The shell of the building, on Hank Aaron Drive across the street from Turner Field, remains intact nearly 8 years after it closed.

Mitchell's case was delayed repeatedly, with her attorneys claiming that the statute of limitations on charges had expired.