I’ve written about corruption that goes on at the airport authority overseeing Washington DC airports but suggested it’s nothing compared to Atlanta which may be the most corrupt airport in the country. Georgia’s legislature considered putting the Atlanta airport under control of an independent authority, to take it out of the hands of politicians themselves under federal corruption investigations, a move that Delta opposed.
In Atlanta if you want to open a restaurant you donate to the mayor’s 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 FBI has been involved.
It turns out that Detroit may give even Atlanta a run for its money. The airport’s former manager is in the midst of a federal criminal trial. James Warner is accused of “fabricating invoices, overcharging the airport for work performed by contractors and receiving more than $5 million worth of kickbacks during a four-year period” — which is even more than Detroit’s former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick took in payoffs.
- A former airport contractor who grossed “more than $16 million from airport contracts” testified about “an alleged bribery scheme that involved threats, lies and payoffs hidden in inches-thick envelopes.”
He said he feared losing multi-million dollar contracts unless he paid bribes that totaled as much as $1 million to Warner, an airport inspector who approved invoices and oversaw maintenance work performed at the airport.
Tenaglia said he was ordered to remove a sweater and unbutton his shirt to prove he wasn’t wearing a secret recording device.
The former airport manager’s lawyer claims he isn’t a credible witness because he’s the guy who did the bribing (and has received sentencing consideration in exchange for his testimony).
- Another contractor reportedly “drafted and submitted inflated invoices for work..total[ing] more than $18 million” out of which the airport manager “received approximately half of the profits from the contracts, or more than $5 million, according to the indictment.”
- His wife sent invoices “for marketing and website consulting” for a website that didn’t exist.