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A. Reginald Eaves
Reggie Eaves, now a candidate for the Atlanta City Council, hit the headlines three decades ago over a police cheating scandal. He hit the slammer 10 years later after a federal jury convicted him of extorting developers as a Fulton County commissioner. For the curious, we have dug up the parole board’s 1998 decision that allows Eaves to vote again and run for office (but no guns, Reggie).
Eaves served as Atlanta’s public safety commissioner under Mayor Maynard Jackson, a college fraternity brother, until scandal forced Eaves to resign in 1978. Investigators said Eaves and others had been involved in distributing advance copies of a promotional exam to selected officers.
He bounced back in 1980, winning election to the Fulton County Commission. But in 1984, sewer and pipeline contractor Charles Edward Wood told FBI agents he had paid Eaves to help his projects get county clearances. The FBI set up a dummy corporation, bought an option on some property and, through intermediary Al Johnson, approached Eaves for help in getting the land rezoned.
According to the ruling on Eaves’ appeal of his 1988 conviction:
On June 4, [1985,] the day before the vote was scheduled, Johnson again met privately with Eaves and asked him how much money he required for a favorable vote. Johnson testified that Eaves held up his hand to demonstrate the number five and nodded in the affirmative when Johnson asked, “$5,000?” On June 5, the Board approved rezoning the Peters Pond project subject to submission of a new petition requesting zoning for single family homes in lieu of the suggested apartment dwellings. On June 19, Al Johnson paid Eaves $5,000 in cash. On September 4, the Board reconsidered the Peters Pond project pursuant to the new petition and granted rezoning.
On August 3, 1987, Eaves told “Hawkins” that for $30,000 “to split” he would have his R-5 classification for the Fox Road property. “Hawkins” agreed and on August 5, when the Fox Road property came before the Board, Eaves moved that it be granted as submitted and voted in favor of an R-5 zoning classification.
Eaves and “Hawkins” met in a suite at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta on August 11, 1987, where he offered partial payment in the amount of ten thousand dollars. Eaves refused, telling “Hawkins” to keep the money until he had the entire thirty thousand. Later in the day, Eaves changed his mind and accepted the ten thousand. On September 4, “Hawkins” paid Eaves the remainder of the agreed upon amount.
In 1988, Eaves was convicted of taking $5,000 from Wood and the $30,000 in the two 1987 payments from “Hawkins.” An appellate court threw out one of the Hawkins counts as duplicative since it involved the same deal.
Fun fact: The late Milton Farris, a fellow county commissioner who sat next to Eaves at meetings, once told me that Eaves was in the habit of packing heat at commission meetings. Eaves carried a gun in an ankle holster, which Farris said he could see when Eaves would cross his legs and his pants leg would ride up.