Nagin, the man who was elected Mayor of New Orleans as a reformer has finally
been indicted by federal prosecutors after a multi-year investigation.
21-count indictment on bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering
charges, Nagin has been revealed as the most corrupt mayor in New Orleans
history. No other mayor in the almost 300 year history of New Orleans has been
indicted for corruption charges by a federal grand jury.
a new low for New Orleans politics. Nagin promised citizens clean, pro-business,
policies that would be the envy of the country. Instead it is alleged that he took payoffs of
$50,000 in granite for his Stone Age LLC company. He was also charged with
taking bribes from businessmen looking to score contracts with the City of New
Orleans. The federal government alleges that Nagin illegally received $50,000 from
Frank Fradella, formerly of Home Solutions of America, and $72,500 from Rodney
Williams of Three Fold Consultants.
In the 2002
campaign, Nagin claimed he would search the world for the best and brightest
employees to lead City Hall. Instead he hired cronies from Cox Cable and
unstable personalities like Kimberly Williamson Butler, who emerged from a
short jail stint comparing herself to Gandhi and Martin Luther Jr. His top
assistant was a law breaking egomaniac, Greg Meffert, who as Technology
Director and Deputy Mayor enriched himself at the public’s expense and pleaded
to conspiracy charges.
associated with corrupt business people like Fradella and technology vendor Mark
St. Pierre, who is serving a 17 year jail sentence. St. Pierre provided Nagin with $1,500 in free
lawn services, access to a luxurious yacht and free vacations to exotic
destinations like Hawaii and Jamaica. Along
with being corrupt, St. Pierre was incompetent as well. One of his foremost
missions was to install crime cameras in New Orleans. After years of out of
control crime, camera malfunctions, and other disappointments, the high priced
cameras were eventually abandoned. The only people to benefit from the high
tech crime fighting tools were St. Pierre and Nagin. Sadly, the citizens of the
Murder Capital of the nation remained under assault on the crime ridden streets
of New Orleans.
exasperated citizens of New Orleans marched on City Hall to demand action on
the crime issue, Nagin was so disinterested that he practically ignored the
massive rally and spent his time texting business associates regarding his
granite business. His preoccupation in
the granite company led Nagin to deliver favors for Home Depot in exchange for
Stone Age receiving granite contracts with the company.
leadership of the city post-Katrina was a nightmare. After refusing to order
the use of school buses to evacuate citizens in New Orleans, Nagin spent precious
hours in the aftermath of the storm on the top floor of the destroyed Hyatt
Hotel. During the crucial post-Katrina period, Nagin retreated to a vacation
home in Dallas so often that he became a fixture in that city. Today, Nagin
lives in Dallas, not his home town of New Orleans.
his worst personnel decision, Nagin hired maybe the most delusional “recovery
director” imaginable in Ed Blakely, a self described worldwide expert who
promised “cranes in the sky” within a year of his hiring. Sadly, Blakely spent
much of his time bashing the citizens of New Orleans, collecting his lucrative
salary and traveling back and forth to his home in Australia.
impeded the growth of New Orleans with his corruption, arrogance and
incompetence. To members of the media who tried to expose his corruption, Nagin
acted like a street thug. In fact, he even threatened to fight the News
Director of WWL-TV in the station’s parking lot.
re-election campaign, his shameless descent into racism with the ‘chocolate
city” comments was a stunning blow to unity in New Orleans and served to further impede the recovery of the
city post Katrina. He was only re-elected in 2006 after he delivered racist
appeals, for he could not run on any accomplishments.
final term, Nagin worked to enrich himself at the expense of the people of New
Orleans. His final project, the Armstrong Park renovations, was a fitting end to
his disastrous second term. Nagin hired a convicted felon to oversee the
project, which ended in a total mess with the expensive sculptures in disrepair
and even the sidewalks improperly installed.
his second term, Nagin made stunningly embarrassing comments that made citizens
cringe. He said he wanted to send the
homeless on a one way ticket out of town. Nagin referred to himself as a “vagina
friendly” mayor in introducing the “Vagina Monologues” to New Orleans. The
Mayor even traveled to New York and criticized their recovery from the 9/11 attacks
by calling the sacred site a “hole in the ground.”
In short, Nagin
was a public relations disaster for New Orleans. He delivered nothing but
corruption and broken promises.
will be receiving what he deserves; justice for the many crimes he is charged
Ray Nain is
a sad reminder that elections matter, they truly matter.