ray nagin

As if the taken from the groundbreaking HBO mini-series Treme, former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was indicted Friday on charges that he used his office for personal gain, accepting payoffs, free trips, and gratuities from contractors while the city was struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

“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 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,” the indictment said.

According to the New York Times, no one abreast with New Orleans politics felt caught off guard with this indictment, as numerous city officials and businesspeople have either plead guilty or accepted pleas for their involvement in the alleged conspiracy.

“This has long been a topic of conversation among the political class,” said Edward E. Chervenak, a professor of political science at the University of New Orleans. “When are the feds going to indict Nagin? Everybody’s been waiting for the shoe to fall.”

Rest assured though, unlike the seemingly remorseful jailed and disgraced former City Council President Oliver Thomas, who plays himself in Treme, Nagin, 56, judging from some of his brazenly incendiary comments post-Katrina, will fight these charges in a manner beset for criminals who not only feel they are above the law but the common folks who put them in office.

Nagin came into office as a political newbie after spending much of his adult life in the private sector. Running on big ideas and a new direction for people of New Orleans, Nagin won the mayoral race on a groundswell support of white voters who believed he was good for local business. After he inherited the worse disaster in the history of the American South, Nagin came to prominence, gaining widespread support from the African-American community for his sweeping indictment of the federal government and private enterprise’s glacial response to Hurricane Katrina.

According to numerous investigative reports in Times-Picayune, Nagin began his sketchy dealing before Katrina in 2004, but it wasn’t until a string of allegations reported by the paper in 2010 — after his second term coming to an end — that the city took notice.

According to reports, much of the bribery, the government alleges, involved Stone Age, a granite countertop business run by Mr. Nagin and his two sons, Jeremy and Jarin. Company accounts would be used to disguise the payoffs, and some of the payoffs came in the form of several shipments of free granite, or coveted business arrangements with local branches of a “major retail corporation,” reported to be Home Depot.

This should be interesting to follow considering how much corruption is entrenched in New Orleans politics.

  • http://trueletterson.wordpress.com trueletterson

    I smell a rat this indictment is suspect!

  • Nica

    I know so many ppl who voted for him and his empty promises. I was down the hall from him during Katrina. I was 16 when he left office and I heard plenty things back then. Just one more fish they caught so who’s next?

  • Señorita

    This dude is, #1, a human being which is why it’s specifically states that we should be trust and faith in GOD rather than man! I’m not going the religious route but these crooked politicians (every last one of them) can’t be trusted and will be the main ones that claim to have your best interest at heart and cursing folks out on the radio looking for help all while fattening their pockets. They make me SICK!!!!! (I say this IF he’s found guilty). What’s done in the dark will always come to light!!!!

  • ASK_ME

    This isn’t surprising.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    ruh-roh.

  • steff

    great article,very informative! i hope if hes proven guilty proper justice will be served and not just a slap on the hand

  • Jaslene

    No surprise it’s New Orleans pretty much the whole city is corrupt.

  • Old TImer

    “empty school buses” that is all.

  • http://designsdelight.com design

    The very great Steve Cockley observed ” Everytime you have a black mayor the feds are not far behind”.

    I do not know anything about the case, but I have seen a trend, someone should investigate the Delay family in Chicago.

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