Ex-New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, has been indicted for bribery and a kickback scheme that allowed him to live in the lap of luxury in the midst of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
Ray Nagin has made history, but it certainly isn’t in a good way. The former New Orleans mayor has become the first mayor in the city’s extensive history to be indicted with federal corruption charges. To make matters worse, he ran his entire campaign on promises of fighting federal corruption, and now he has betrayed his city.
While New Orleans citizens were trying to rebuild their neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their one lively city, Nagin was enjoying huge pay-offs, paid trips to Hawaii, Jamaica and Las Vegas, and even limousine services.
His indictment includes 21 federal corruption charges which means he could be facing more than 15 years behind bars.
While the ex-New Orleans Mayor should be been leading his city out of a tragedy he was busy handing out major city projects to business associates who returned the favor with large sums of money and vacations.
Honest service wire fraud, money laundering, bribery, and filing false tax returns are just a few of the charges that Nagin has been slapped with.
“The defendant C. Ray Nagin, knowingly devised a scheme and artifice to defraud the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through bribery and a kickback scheme, whereby Mayor Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefitted business and financial interests of individuals providing him with bribery/ kickback payoffs in the form of checks, cash, granite inventory, wire transfers, personal services and free travel,” the indictment said.
The granite inventory was allegedly for Nagin’s family company Stone Age LLC. The family company also had mysterious checks being placed into their accounts.
As for the limo services, the former Mayor was enjoying the luxurious rides while many citizens still hadn’t been able to replace their own vehicles that had been destroyed by Katrina.
“Nagin on or about May 23, 2006 accepted a bribery/kickback payoff from Businessman A in the form of private jet travel and limousine services to New York City,” the indictment continued.
In addition to giving away projects for bribes, the Mayor was also busy waiving penalties for the crooked companies as well.
The indictment went on to accuse of Nagin of waiving penalties on a delinquent tax bill that was owed by the businessmen who were paying for his trips.
He also allegedly accepted $50,000 from businessman Frank Fradella in addition to monthly wire transfers of $12,500 – giving him a total of $112,500.
While the former Mayor’s lawyer has denied all charges, Fradella pleaded guilty to bribing the ex-New Orleans Mayor in June of 2012.
The charges go on and on including another $70,000 bribe, paid lodging expenses, private jet trips to Chicago, and even more supplies for Stone Age LLC.
The city was definitely cheated out of tons of money and honest work, but more than that they were betrayed by the man who promised them nothing but honesty.
“This is a sad day for the city of New Orleans,” said Mitch Landrieu who is the current mayor of New Orleans. “Today’s indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin alleges serious violations of the public’s trust. Public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated.”
The City Hall corruption investigation has already obtained a total of four guilty pleas from two businessmen and two former city officials, but ex-mayor Nagin refuses to admit to any wrong doing.
Needless to say, the citizens are having the hardest time accepting the fact that all this was going on while their homes were underwater.
“It’s a betrayal,” said Terrence Fitzmorris, a Turlane University history professor. “He’s doing this while the city was at its lowest point.”
The FBI wanted to remind city officials everywhere that just because they make it out of office without being caught, doesn’t mean that they got away with it.
“This indictment should serve as a reminder to current and former public officials that… the FBI pursues corruption even after an official leaves offices,” said Michael Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office.
The case is U.S. v. Nagin, 13-cr-11, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).