Former Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell was indicted on charges of racketeering, bribery and wire fraud after a five-year federal investigation into corruption during his years at City Hall, officials said Monday.
Campbell, who was mayor from 1994 to 2002, is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, cash, travel and home improvements in exchange for city contracts.
The indictment, unsealed Monday, accuses Campbell of "a pattern and practice of misconduct and illegal acts" that included seeking money from people doing business with the city to line his own pockets, in part to support his gambling habit, including repeated trips to casinos.
Campbell, who has called the federal probe a witch hunt, stood with his hands clasped in front of him as authorities listed the charges against him at a news conference.
"They're lies from beginning to end," he told reporters afterward, visibly angry. "The only thing that's correct in this indictment is the spelling of my name."
Ten people who worked for Campbell have been convicted of corruption. Some were members of Campbell's staff, including top aides; others had business contracts with the city during his tenure.
The indictment was handed up by a grand jury Aug. 18 but was immediately sealed. Campbell's mother died the next day, and authorities said they delayed announcing the indictment out of respect for the family.
The indictment describes a cozy relationship between Campbell, 51, and several contractors who paid for gambling excursions, two air-conditioning units at his home, and airfare to Paris, New Orleans and Memphis, among other places.
In 1999, Campbell took $55,000 from a computer contractor and subcontractor doing business with the city, one of which was later indicted for arranging illegal campaign contributions for Campbell's reelection, according to the indictment.
The unnamed contractor secured deals with the city worth more than $2 million, including $1 million to fix the city's year 2000 computer problem, the indictment said. When a subcontractor offered to upgrade the city's computers that year, Campbell allegedly asked, "What's in it for me?"