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Tag: 11 Scalawags for the History Books

Reginald Eaves

Eaves was controversial from day one, after his college classmate Mayor Maynard Jackson named him Atlanta’s top cop in 1974. He defiantly used public money to pay for extra options on his fully loaded city vehicle: “If I can’t ride in a little bit of comfort, to hell with it.” (He later reimbursed the city for the difference.) Jackson forced Eaves out in 1978 for helping officers cheat on promotions tests. Within a few years, after winning a seat on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, he was pocketing payments to help a local businessman, prosecutors said later. A federal jury convicted Eaves of extortion in 1988 after he was caught selling his vote on two rezonings.

Linda Schrenko

Vanity, thy name is Linda Schrenko. The former state school superintendent paid for a $9,300 face-lift with tax money intended for deaf students, then showed up in court wearing a faux-fur-accented coat. Schrenko squeaked into office in 1994 as the first woman to win a partisan statewide election. She served two terms, then fizzled out in a losing bid for governor financed in part with embezzled federal funds. Schrenko later admitted diverting more than $600,000 to a computer contractor for work that was never performed, then funneling about half to her campaign. She pleaded guilty a week and a half into her 2006 trial before Merle Temple, her deputy superintendent and ex-lover, could testify against her. She’ll get out of prison in 2013.

Michael Vick

Who says there are no second acts in American lives? Yes, Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels harbored the fighting, torturing, and execution of underperforming pit bulls. And yes, Vick participated in the killing of six to eight dogs, some by drowning, hanging, or electrocuting. And yes, he served most of a twenty-three-month prison sentence. But remember: The man knows his way around a gridiron. In February, after a stellar season with the Eagles, he was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. A month later, he signed a one-year contract with the team, estimated to bring in around $20 million. That’s a lot of doggie biscuits.

Sam Caldwell

For seventeen years, Labor Commissioner Sam Caldwell treated underlings like serfs: Shaking them down for campaign donations. Extracting a TV, a new car, even cash to pay his taxes. Making them fix his boats,...

Pat Swindall

You’d think with a name like Swindall, a politician would work to be a paragon of integrity. Not Pat Swindall, a former two-term congressman from DeKalb and onetime up-and-comer in the Republican party.

George H. Greene

Greene pleaded guilty to bribing the Fulton County commissioner to steer contracts to his communications company.

Lester Maddox

Lester Maddox, best known as an anti-integrationist and chicken restaurateur, stumbled into the governorship. When his opponent failed to win a majority of votes, the General Assembly picked Maddox.

Steve Kaplan

In 2001 the racketeering trial of Gold Club owner Kaplan gave Atlanta—a place where strip clubs and churches battle for prominence—a peek into the city’s premier cathedral of the flesh.

John Rocker

Most days, a few strangers say something to him—usually positive, or at least neutral: “‘Hey, you’re John Rocker!’ Yeah, that’s me.”

Earl Paulk

Over the next half century, the founder of one of Atlanta’s first megachurches popped up in one sex scandal after another.

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