RAY NAGIN INDICTED: Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was indicted Friday on 21 federal charges for allegedly using his office for personal gain, accepting payoffs, free trips and gratuities from contractors while the city was in dire straits in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This indictment came as two former city officials, two businessmen made guilty pleas and a former city vendor received a prison sentence.
The federal indictment accuses Nagin of accepting more than $160,000 in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of a local businessman who secured millions of dollars in city contract work after the 2005 hurricane. The businessman, Frank Fradella, pleaded guilty in June to bribery conspiracy and securities-fraud charges and has been cooperating with federal authorities.
Nagin, 56, also is charged with accepting at least $60,000 in payoffs from another businessman, Rodney Williams, for his help in securing city contracts for architectural, engineering and management services work. Williams, who was president of Three Fold Consultants LLC, pleaded guilty Dec. 5 to a conspiracy charge. Source
You will recall Ray Nagin outraged many when he said he wanted the rebuilt New Orleans to be a “chocolate city.” It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Once the feds are involved, a prison sentence is almost an inevitable outcome.
Here’s a breakdown from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
From Ray Nagin to Mark St. Pierre:
- Signed executive order in June 2004 excluding technology contracts from city bidding rules, and subsequently signed contracts that allowed St. Pierre’s Imagine Software to collect at least $7 million for technology work at City Hall
From Mark St. Pierre to Ray Nagin:
- Family trips to Hawaii and Jamaica in December 2004 and October 2005
- Cell phone service for Nagin family members starting in 2005
- Hosting of a campaign fundraiser in Chicago in June 2006 that resulted in direct and “concealed” contributions
From Ray Nagin to Frank Fradella:
- A pledge to Home Solutions investors to “support Fradella’s business interests” with the city
- Signed a contract in March 2007 with a Home Solutions subsidiary worth $3 million for a construction contract at Louis Armstrong International Airport
- Signed a second contract worth $1 million for additional airport work in July 2007
- Signed a contract with the same Home Solutions subsidiary for French Quarter sidewalk repairs in October 2007
From Frank Fradella to Ray Nagin:
- A $50,000 payoff, routed through Home Solutions of America board member Michael McGrath, in June 2008
- At least two truckloads of free granite in June and August 2008 (value unknown)
- After Nagin’s departure from City Hall, nine payments of $12,500, totaling $112,500
- A trip on a private jet to Chicago and Las Vegas, with businessman Aaron Bennett, in January 2007
From Ray Nagin to “Businessman A”:
- An agreement to waive delinquent tax and loan payments owed to the city; the indictment does not specify the amount
From “Businessman A” to Ray Nagin:
- A trip to New York City in May 2006 for the Nagin family costing $23,500, including private jet travel and limo service
From Ray Nagin to Rodney Williams:
- On paper, transferred a 4.5 percent interest in Stone Age to BRT Investments, a company set up by Williams
- Awarded at least 22 professional services contracts to Three Fold Consultants, Williams’ firm, starting in June 2008. In most cases, the indictment does not list the value of the contracts, although one deal for sidewalk repair was worth $1 million and another for lighting was worth up to $400,000.
From Rodney Williams to Ray Nagin:
- Three $20,000 check payments in January 2008
- One $10,000 cash payment, collected by Nagin’s sons, in June 2009
- A $2,500 check payment in June 2008