In Atlanta if you want to open a restaurant you donate to a political campaign and pay the former mayor’s daughter. The airport’s former manager was fired for being insufficiently corrupt, and then the city council buried the payments that bought his silence.
The amazing thing is that the FBI has apparently learned that even when they go after corruption, they need to leave the powerful corrupt officials alone and only go after the private sector businesses pressured to give money.
Federal prosecutors have secured a guilty plea to bribery charges for paying an Atlanta procurement official $20,000 for an airport contract. They aren’t releasing the name of the official who took the bribe.
Hayat Choudhary, chief executive of Atlanta Airport Shuttle Services Inc., paid an initial $10,000 bribe to the city procurement official after the city in May 2017 announced a 10-year contract to operate a kitchen/restaurant at the airport’s taxi hold lot building, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.The unnamed official then “instructed Choudhary that he had to pay another $10,000 to receive the contract,” which he paid, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The man says he was trying to do business with the airport, was told he had to pay as a condition of getting the business, so what was he supposed to do? The answer of course is turn down the business and contact the FBI.
Three Atlanta officials have been sentenced to prison for corruption in recent years, someone had to be sacrificed, but Atlanta airport contracting appears to remain corrupt and it’s those who are pressured to pay that are punished in this case, it seems, rather than the ones in positions of power.
Makes me feel even better about the $339 million Atlanta airport pocketed out of the CARES Act.