Federal indictment: Contractor gave bribes to former Jackson mayor, other city officials

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An embattled Atlanta contractor and political mover and shaker faces new bribery charges alleging she showered former Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber and other officials with gifts so they would award her future city contracts.
Mitzi Bickers “hosted parties and paid for food, airline flights, hotels, chauffeured car services, entertainment, fundraisers and campaign services” for the mayor and other city officials, according to an updated indictment filed October 22, and first reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Prosecutors included the allegations in an updated indictment filed in Georgia federal court under an existing case. Those charges, to which she has pleaded not guilty, alleges Bickers’ involvement in an Atlanta bribery scheme that has rocked city hall in recent years.
The indictment, which does not cite Yarber by name, also alleges Bickers made purchases, totaling at least $5,000, “with the intent to influence and reward an agent of the City of Jackson, Mississippi government.”
The charges echo allegations against the city and mayor in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed in August of 2016, which the Jackson City Council settled for $10,000 a year later. The suit detailed parties Bickers threw for Yarber at which “strippers wearing only body paint greeted them at the door.”
Bickers, who is also pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, never received portions of the lucrative city contracts she sought, including one to manage the city’s wastewater consent decree, because the Jackson City Council voted them down.
“The whole thing was so smelly,” Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote, said Wednesday. “All the connections with the subcontractors made many of us suspicious … it just struck me as a lot of mischief that may be underway and we were paying a lot of money for just oversight … So I’m glad that contract didn’t get passed by the city council and I think that she’s now indicted may