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Former Atlanta watershed management commissioner sentenced for accepting bribes

Crime and public safety Metro ATL Trending

Former Atlanta watershed management commissioner sentenced for accepting bribes

Atlanta City Hall Annex. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Atlanta, GA — Former city of Atlanta Commissioner of Watershed Management Jo Ann Macrina has been sentenced to four years and six months in prison for accepting bribes from an Atlanta contractor.

Macrina’s sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release, and $40,000 in restitution. Macrina was convicted of conspiracy and federal program bribery on October 14, 2022, following a jury trial.

Macrina served as the commissioner of watershed management from 2011 to May 2016, according to a press release. During her tenure, the city awarded millions of dollars in contracts to an architectural, design, and construction management and services firm based in Atlanta. Macrina took steeps to steer lucrative contracts toward the firm’s joint venture.

“Those actions included casting aside prior final scores ranking potential vendors where the joint venture ranked near the bottom, replacing two evaluators who previously represented the Department of Watershed Management with herself and Macrina’s employee, and scoring the joint venture higher than all other evaluators during a reevaluation,” the press release states.

In exchange for providing the firm’s executive vice president with access to confidential information and preferential treatment on Atlanta projects, Macrina was offered a job and accepted things of value. She accepted $10,000 in cash, a diamond ring, a room at a luxury hotel in Dubai and landscaping work at her home from the firm’s executive vice president, either directly or through another employee.

Macrina began working for the firm shortly after she was no longer working for the city of Atlanta. Between June 2016 and September 2016, the firm and its executive vice president paid Macrina $30,000 in four separate payments.

“Jo Ann Macrina was entrusted to safeguard the water supply for millions of Atlanta residents but instead resorted to corruption by steering work to a city contractor in exchange for cash, luxury items, and a lucrative job offer,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We are committed to working closely with our partners to rid local government of those who allow personal greed to lead to the abuse of positions of trust.”

Macrina exploited her position, said Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta.

“This case is especially disturbing because she was the head of a department,” Farley said. “This conviction reflects our continuing commitment to root out corruption and bring to justice those who abuse positions of power.”

James E. Dorsey, special agent in charge at the IRS Criminal Investigation in the Atlanta Field Office, added that by enriching herself through bribes, Macrina abused her public trust.

“The sentence she received serves notice to public officials that they are not above the law and will be held accountable for using public funds for their own use,” Dorsey said.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation.

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