Bill Campbell (mayor)

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Bill Campbell
Bill Campbell 2012.jpg
Campbell in 2012
57th Mayor of Atlanta
In office
January 1994 – January 7, 2002
Preceded by Maynard Jackson
Succeeded by Shirley Franklin
Personal details
Born William Craig Campbell
1953 (age 62–63)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Vanderbilt University (B.A.)
Duke University Law School (J.D.)

William Craig "Bill" Campbell[1] (born 1953) is an American former politician who served as the 57th Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia from 1994 to 2002. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Campbell was the fifty-seventh mayor in the city's history and the third African American to hold the office. Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Campbell was the first black student to attend an all-white school in the city in 1960 at age seven. He attended William G. Enloe High School and is the younger brother of former North Carolina State Auditor Ralph Campbell. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Mayor of Atlanta[edit]

Heartily endorsed by his predecessor, Maynard Jackson, to take the reins in the 1993 election, Campbell subsequently fell into disfavor during his second term, despite defeating then-president of the Atlanta City Council, Marvin S. Arrington, Sr.. The 1997 race was known for its emphasis on the racial overtones often not publicly seen in the African-American community, with Campbell being the lighter-skinned candidate and Arrington the darker complexioned. His term was from January 1994 to January 2002[2] Campbell would later be criticized for deploying anti-Black racist messaging in an attempt to deflect criticism of his record as mayor.[3] Campbell was succeeded by Shirley Franklin. Following his tenure as mayor, he moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where he worked as a practicing attorney. He was disbarred by order of the Supreme Court of Florida as a result of his tax evasion conviction.[1]

Failure of Atlanta Empowerment Zone[edit]

In November 1994, the Atlanta Empowerment Zone was established, a 10-year, $250 million federal program to revitalize Atlanta's 34 poorest neighborhoods including the Bluff. Scathing reports from both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs revealed corruption, waste, bureaucratic incompetence, and specifically called out interference by mayor Campbell.[4][5]

Tax Evasion Conviction[edit]

In August 2004 Campbell retained high-profile lawyer Billy Martin to defend an indictment by a federal grand jury on racketeering, bribery and wire fraud charges after a five-year federal investigation into corruption during his years as mayor of Atlanta. Campbell was acquitted of the racketeering, bribery and wire fraud charges. On March 10, 2006, a federal jury convicted him on three counts of tax evasion.[6] On June 13, 2006, he was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story to 30 months in prison on charges of tax evasion[6] and also ordered to serve a year on probation, pay a $6,000 fine, and pay more than $60,000 in back taxes.[citation needed] He reported to prison in Miami, Florida, on August 21, 2006,[6] after having several attempts to remain out on appeal bond denied by the court.[citation needed]

Campbell was released from prison and a halfway house on October 24, 2008.[6]

Involvement with Corporate Water Privatization[edit]

According to the documentary, "Blue Gold - World Water Wars," [7] Mayor Campbell accepted a $6,900 campaign contribution and a trip to Paris from water privatization company Suez even though he was "not running for office."


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Maynard Jackson
Mayor of Atlanta
January 1994 – January 2002
Succeeded by
Shirley Franklin