Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Feds: Bribery in Jackson City Hall

A federal grand jury indicted Atlanta political operative Mitzi Bickers on October 22 for bribing Jackson officials.  The indictment alleges she paid bribes to obtain contracts for a proposed convention center hotel as well as management of the wastewater program under a federal consent decree. Bickers worked in the 2014 campaign of Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber and donated $10,000 as well.  The indictment states:

56. BICKERS attempted to enrich herself and others by obtaining lucrative government contracts with the City of Jackson, Mississippi through the provision of money, goods and services to public officials intending to influence and reward the public officials for the exercise of their official duties....

62. Beginning in or about March 2014, BICKERS hosted parties and paid for food, airline flights, hotels, chauffeured car services, entertainment, fundraisers and campaign services for the Mayor and other City of Jackson officials in an effort to influence and reward these public officials. Mitchell helped to fund many of these activities.

63. In or about June 2014, BICKERS traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana and met with the Mayor and other city officials.

64. On or about July 18, 2014, the Mayor traveled to BICKERS' Jonesboro home via chauffeured car service requested by BICKERS and paid for by the Bickers Group.

65. On or about July 19, 2014, the Mayor traveled from Atlanta to Meridian, Mississippi via chauffeured car service requested by BICKERS and paid for by the Bickers Group.

66. In or about July or August 2014, BICKERS met with the Mayor in Jackson to discuss a city contract.

67. On or about September 5, 2014, BICKERS met with the Mayor and other City of Jackson officials in Atlanta. The Bickers Group paid for the airline tickets for the Mayor and city officials.

68. On or about September 5, 2014, the  Mayor traveled from the Ritz-Carlton in downtown  Atlanta  to  Chastain  Park  Amphitheater  via  chauffeured  car  service requested by BICKERS.  The Bickers  Group paid for this service.

69. In  or  about  February  2015,  BICKERS  met  with  the  Mayor  and  other  city officials to  discuss a convention center hotel project in Jackson.

70. On or about March 23, 2015, BICKERS reviewed and approved a consulting (teaming)  agreement  with  another  company  for  the  Wastewater  Consent  Decree Program Management Services contract in Jackson.

71. In  or  about May 2015, BICKERS represented  to a public employee  that the Mayor promised she would receive a government contract with the City of Jackson and  BICKERS simply needed to ensure that the paperwork looked good enough to justify the award.

72. In or  about May or June 2015, BICKERS and  Mitchell sought work with the City of Jackson  relating to its Wastewater  Consent Decree Program Management Services contract.

73. On   or   about  June  29,  2015,  BICKERS  became  the  registered  agent  of Mississippi Developers, a Mississippi limited liability corporation.

74. From in or about March 2014, to in or about March 2015, the exact dates being unknown, in the Northern District of Georgia and elsewhere, defendant MITZI BICKERS, aided and abetted by others known and unknown, corruptly gave, offered, and agreed to give a thing of value to a person with the intent to influence and reward an agent of the City of Jackson, Mississippi government (a local government), in connection with any business, transaction, and series of transactions of the City of Jackson government, involving a thing of value of at least $5,000, in the one-year period listed above, during which the City of Jackson, Mississippi government received benefits in excess of $10,000 under a federal program involving, a grant, contract, subsidy, loan, guarantee, insurance and other form, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2) and Section 2.

The federal grand jury indicted Bickers earlier this year for allegedly accepting $2 million in bribes to steer contracts to Atlanta contractors.  The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reported:

Prosecutors accused the former city of Atlanta human services director of taking money from contractors to help them win city contracts and spending the money on a lavish lifestyle that included: a $775,000 home in Jonesboro; a $46,000 Denali luxury SUV; $45,000 worth of waverunner jet skis; and vacations to Aruba, Disney resorts and on Carnival cruise lines.Bickers was a highly sought-after political operative who helped former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed get elected in 2009, then went on to work in Reed's administration for three years.

The 11-count indictment alleges Bickers used her influence at City Hall to steer contracts to Elvin “E.R.” Mitchell Jr. and Charles P. Richards Jr., both when she worked for the city and after she left in 2013. Mitchell and Richards have each pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the on-going investigation.... Read the rest of the article.
The allegations about bribing Jackson officials are found in Count III of the indictment (p.17).    The indictment states that the defendant "represented to a city employee" that Mayor Yarber was going to award her the consent decree contract and needed help to make sure the paperwork submitted "looked right."

The Jackson employee mentioned in the indictment is Stephanie Coleman.  Ms. Coleman sued the city for sexual harassment.  Her complaint states:

22.  Ms. Bickers  stated  that  Mayor  Yarber  had  decided  that she would  get the EPA  Consent Decree Management  Contract with a partner of her choosing. Ms. Coleman's help was needed  to make sure the paperwork  looked  good enough to justify awarding the contract to the Bickers team.

23.  A few weeks after this meeting, Ms. Coleman received a group of applications from newly-formed  out-of-state  and  local  businesses  that were affiliated  with  Mitzi Bickers seeking MBE/DBE certifications; none of the businesses had the requisite experience to handle any of the City's major projects.
Ms. Coleman is the former Jackson Equal Business Opportunity Manager.  The City Council settled the lawsuit a few weeks ago for $35,000.  The AJC tracked down Ms. Colemen and reported today:

Coleman told the AJC and Channel 2 in February of 2017 that Bickers approached her about how to make her documentation pass muster to win the watershed contract, saying Yarber had promised her city business.

Coleman also said that she had been interviewed by FBI agents, who questioned her about both Bickers and Powell (Keisha Powell, Jackson Public Works Director). “I’m not saying that I heard that she was steering contracts, I’m saying I was in there when she steered contracts,” Coleman said of Powell. “I’m sitting there … and I’m hearing (her) say, ‘We will not work with this company, we will not do that. And I need you all to score these (bid) sheets again and we’re not leaving until we do.’” Coleman settled her lawsuit with the city of Jackson last month for an undisclosed sum.

Powell has not been charged and is not named in the updated indictment. She has previously denied steering contracts in Jackson, and repeated that denial to the AJC Wednesday. Rest of article.
Kingfish note: Stay tuned. 


Anonymous said...

Tony Yarber gonna kiss the baby. He gwan to jail.

Anonymous said...

As we all remember here in Mississippi Bickers was real tight with Henry Barbour as he led Thad's efforts to get black Democrats to vote for him in the Republican primary runoff back in 2014.

Anonymous said...

Business as usual in city hall. There will likely be a scandal in the future related to the JP$ bond $ale. With that kind of money greedy people do stupid things.

Posted these comments for a friend.

Anonymous said...

wow,,, ms mitzi ,,,,,,, hard to fathom that a big time political operative like you would have to come to a 3nd world backwater POS town like jackson mississippi to racket up $$$$$$$. must mean you have already cleaned atlanta out.

Anonymous said...

ms mitizi, please be advised that the only thing worse than being under federal indictment in 1 jurisdiction , is being under indictment in 2 different jurisdictions. in case you didn't know ,being under federal indictment is the legal equivalent of having the emboli virus and hiv combined. just ask anyone in the Epps scandal and they will tell you so. good luck, you will need it. free up your next 20 years right away.

Anonymous said...

Who is "Powell"?

Anonymous said...

Jackson, getting jacked perpetually.

Anonymous said...

Mitzi likely had to leave Atlanta as the city's demographic has drastically changed. Went from nearly 70% black to 51% white majority and growing. The officials being elected I guess aren't her cup of tea. She is corrupt as the day is long.

Anonymous said...

8:49, Keisha Powell is the former PW Director who was personally chosen by Talecia Garrett and her dad, you obviously are a moron and a complete novice to this issue. Use Google, buddy, before you post such uninformed posts. is a free service, use it so you won't look like such an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Too bad, so sad. There has to be a better way to make a living

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Tony Yarber and Keisha Powell will be indicted for accepting bribes?

Anonymous said...

9:05, did you skip the class on good manners?

Anonymous said...

This behavior is engrained in the political culture of Jackson. This is why the city appears to be paralyzed....there are so many political "operatives" that are owed favors, the leaders can never agree on which one to use and projects just sit and stall. The debate becomes more about who is going to get rich than how are we going to get this done. Any politician that tries to do things the right way (use competent contractors with the lowest bid) are tarred and feathered on black radio and run out of town.

Yarber was just trying to get his share and got caught because the lady he sexually harassed knew about the bid rigging.

Anonymous said...

6:39, 9:05 is insulted that you do not know Keisha Powell was personally chosen by Lord and Lady Garrett and that carries much weight where they come from. When you hear those names you should be solemn and hold yourself accordingly. You also should automatically know PW Director means something as well, if you were a PW Director for a while that would mean something to you!

Anonymous said...

@6:29 AM - if Ms. Mitzi wants to cut a deal and throw them under her bus, then it's very possible that they too will be wearing striped outfits.

Anonymous said...

Run Tony Run!!!

Anonymous said...

9:05; Please explain your copped attitude. All 8:49 did was ask who the person is. I didn't know either as I don't frequent the government employment office buildings in downtown Jackson.

On a related note, I can't wait to read this stuff with Madison County names substituted. As Johnny Cash sang...'It's comin' round the bend!' (And they won't see no sunshine, since I don't know when. I'm stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin' on.)

Anonymous said...

@6:55 AM - Excellent analysis!

Baby Chok said...

Did Mitzi also make Tony T's mortgage disappear or was that someone else?

Anonymous said...

8:49, 6:39, 7:04 - 9:05 is Keisha Powell's mom who is very upset that her daughter did not obtain the celebrity status like that other mayor before whoever it is this one that we've got now. Who are these leaders and Where did they come from?

We CAN and we WILL break this cycle of corruption and stupidity in local and state government. There is still time and I still have hope as you should too. Our lives depend on it!

Anonymous said...

tip of the iceburg--

Anonymous said...

According to Clarion-Ledger, the hotel was awarded to Bickers team. Her team asked the JRA for $60M. I think the project was rejected by the board.

Why didn't JRA do a better job when the noticed Bickers? I wonder if members of JRA are involved in the conspiracy?

Anonymous said...

JRA awarded the convention center to Bickers

Anonymous said...

Bickers asked for $60M

Anonymous said...

The city should be on high alert from these bond and money pumps from Atlanta.

The city is infested with scandal. Its stil time to get out if you are smart Jacksonians.

Anonymous said...

Damn Republicans and Donald Trump made her do it. Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

JRA seemingly conspired with the Mayor to award the convention center hotel to the Bickers team.

It is ironic that at their first board meeting, (the Yarber Appointees) replaced the setting chairman with a Yarber appointee.

It's in their minutes. You cannot make this stuff up.

BTW, the Bickers team asked for $60M from JRA and the City.

Anonymous said...

Don't believe for a minute that the palm greasing in Jacktown city hall has stopped.

Anonymous said...

Watch "Former City employee Mitzi Bickers accused of bribing officials in Jackson, Mississippi" on YouTube (Atlanta News Station)

Anonymous said...

But, but, this can't be true. She is a "woman of the cloth."

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS