Former New Orleans Mayor charged with corruption

By Helen Wright22 January 2013

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Ray Nagin, the former Mayor of New Orleans, US, has been charged with fraud, bribery and money laundering over the corrupt awarding of contracts in the city.

Mr Nagin is accused of accepting bribes including cash payments and holidays since at least 2004 in exchange for granting contracts, including reconstruction work in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans in 2005.

One of Mr Nagin’s key associates was Frank Fradella, who was the CEO and chairman of now defunct contractor Home Solutions of America. Mr Fradella was also affiliated with several local companies including Home Solutions Restoration of Louisiana, Associated Contractors and Picke Construction, according to the indictment.

Mr Nagin is accused of accepting more than US$ 160,000 in bribes from Mr Fradella alone. In exchange, Mr Fradella was awarded millions of Dollars in contracts, including construction work at the city’s airport and road repair projects.

The federal indictment, which lists 21 counts of corruption against Mr Nagin, also states that Nagin's family-owned granite-business, Stone Age, allegedly benefited from the corruption. In addition, another local businessman, Rodney Williams, is alleged to have paid Mr Nagin US$ 60,000 in kickbacks to win contracts for architectural, engineering and management services work.

The indictment comes after a New Orleans city investigation found Mr Nagin guilty of corruption. It states, “Mayor Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favourable treatment that benefitted the 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.”

Two former officials in Mr Nagin's administration have already pleaded guilty to corruption charges dating from their time at City Hall, while Mr Fradella and Mr Williams have also pleaded guilty and are expected to testify against Mr Nagin when the case comes to court, according to reports.

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