People named in racketeering case donated to Anita Howard’s campaign

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney, David Cooke, announced a statewide racketeering case in a press conference last week.

16 people were charged with bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, and illegal gambling. Five of them were arrested in July of 2019.

We looked through campaign donation documents and found some of the people named in that case, donated to Anita Howard’s campaign in September and November of 2019.

Rahim McCarley was out on bond at the time of his donation. He donated $2800 under his business, Quick Serve 2, on Pio Nono Avenue. Hiren Patel also donated the same amount under his business on Rocky Creek Road. Kunj and Samir Patel each donated $2500 under their own names.

District Attorney Cooke said it’s unusual for a person out on bond to successfully donate to a District Attorney’s campaign.

“We know that they try to use money to influence public officials. It’s in the indictment, bribery is in the indictment,” said Cooke, “It is something they seek to do so it would not surprise me if anyone in this industry sought to offer money to a public official.”

We reached out to Howard multiple times for an interview or comment. She sent us this statement at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday:

“In DA Cooke’s final 15 days in office, we see that local politics is seemingly
being influenced by our national leader’s behavior. His continued attempts to create a false narrative has thus far landed on deaf ears as this community by its overwhelming vote issued a mandate for change. With well over 70% of the vote, we will not allow Defeated DA Cooke to diminish the will of the people. Only votes win elections. A District Attorney has tremendous power which should not be wielded recklessly. Because of Defeated DA Cooke’s improperly motivated efforts, the people of this community made a better
choice. The campaign has ended, we are now in a period of transition. I am confident that democracy will prevail in the Macon Judicial Circuit as it has on a national level, regardless of those that perilously try to obstruct it. I again thank the citizens who voted with confidence and conviction that I would put the safety and security of the people of the Macon Judicial Circuit as the priority of this office. We were hopeful that this transition would put the people first but instead it has been met with consistent discord and a lack
of civility. I will continue to fight daily for the citizens of this circuit to have a District Attorney who will focus on them and their communities and not personal or political gain.
As I have previously stated, no one is above the law and we will administer justice according to our oath, the laws of the State of Georgia and the United States Constitution.”

The statement comes after Cooke requested an outside prosecutor for the racketeering case. We asked why he made that decision. He said people thought it might be politically motivated, but said that’s just not true.

“It’s not enough that a prosecution be fair, it’s essential but it’s not enough. People need to also see and believe that it’s fair and just,” said Cooke.

Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Local News

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