Congratulations to Nezida S. Davis who retired from the Antitrust Division last week. Nezida was the former Chief of the Atlanta office until it got whacked in early 2013 (along with Cleveland, Dallas and Philadelphia). Nezida had a long and distinguished career in public service with the Division. She joined the Division in 1984 as a trial attorney after serving a clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge Horace T. Ward. Nezida, a graduate of Columbia Law School, was named Assistant Chief of the Atlanta office in 1995 and Chief in 2002.
Nezida, like myself followed an iconic Chief of the office. Nezida followed John Orr while I followed John Hughes in Philadelphia. All we really had to do was not screw things up, and Nezida far exceeded that bar. Nezida managed litigation teams that successfully conducted 13 federal jury trials, ranking the Atlanta Field Office as No. 1 among the 8 criminal enforcement offices in terms of most trial wins (FY 2002 to FY 2011). The Atlanta office had a particularly noteworthy streak where she successfully managed litigation teams that conducted 5 lengthy complex federal jury trials over a nine-month period in 2006-2007. The prosecutions resulted in the conviction of 21 defendants on bribery/public corruption and fraud charges. Courts imposed 16,375 jail days, more than $45.7 million in criminal fines, and more than $2.3 million in restitution to a county governmental entity in Alabama.
More recently, Nezida led the Atlanta office’s successful real estate foreclosure auctions investigations, which began before the office shut down. She continued to supervise the matter from a makeshift office in Atlanta until the recent transfer of the investigation to a new section in DC. To date 10 individuals and two corporations have pleaded guilty in the Alabama real estate foreclosure auction investigation into bid rigging and fraud. There have been four guilty pleas in the Georgia real estate foreclosure investigation and two guilty pleas in the North Carolina real estate foreclosure auction investigation.
I worked often with Nezida on management issues, but I really got to know her well when we were trying to persuade the Division not to close the four field offices. She is a very principled person, strong leader, a tough fighter and she will be missed in the Division.
Nezida is going to take some time off before deciding what to do next. Congratulations Nezida and enjoy!