Thursday, May 1, 2014

FORMER CITY OF ATLANTA CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

PLEADS GUILTY IN BRIBERY CASE 

State v. John Henry Harris

Atlanta– Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard, Jr. announces a conviction by guilty plea in a bribery case involving a former City of Atlanta Code Enforcement Officer. During plea proceedings Wednesday, 47-year-old John Henry Harris pleaded guilty to two felony counts of bribery for soliciting payment from two City of Atlanta residents.

In his role as a Code Enforcement Officer, Harris was responsible for investigating nuisance complaints such as overgrown lawns, debris, unauthorized construction and other community blights. When Harris found that a nuisance existed, he was required to issue a citation for violating City of Atlanta ordinances.

On March 12, 2010, Harris promised a homeowner he would overlook code violations if the homeowner put Harris “on his payroll” and paid him $200.00 a month. Instead of paying Harris, the homeowner notified the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services.  Three days later in a separate matter, Harris offered to overlook debris on a public roadway if a building contractor paid him. The building contractor also refused to pay the Defendant and instead notified the Atlanta Police Department that Harris sought illegal payments.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Harris was sentenced to two years’ probation by Fulton County Magistrate Judge Karen Woodson. Harris must also pay a $1500 fine and have no contact with the homeowner or contractor who reported the bribes.

The case was prosecuted by Senior District Attorney Jay Hughes assigned to the Public Integrity Unit with assistance from Deputy Chief of Investigations Cameron Crandall. The City of Atlanta Department of Law led the initial investigation.

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