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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Democrat Ray Nagin, New Orleans Mayor Made Famous for his Hurricane Katrina Incompetence, Indicted on 21 Federal Corruption Charges

By Douglas V. Gibbs

Public corruption is something that many politicians in today's society seem to excel at.  Former New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, was indicted by a grand jury on 21 federal corruption charges.  Released yesterday, the indictment alleges that the Louisiana Democrat awarded lucrative city contracts to contractors in exchange for more than $200,000 in kickbacks and first-class trips to Hawaii, Jamaica and Las Vegas.

Should he be found guilty on all charges, he faces more than 15 years in prison.

The charges stem from a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen.

The indictment alleges that, between 2005 and 2008, Nagin:

- Accepted more than $70,000 in bribes from a consultant who later won more than a dozen public works contracts with the city.

- Received paid lodging and vacation expenses for himself and his family in Hawaii and was flown first-class to Jamaica by a city contractor.

- Accepted a free private jet trip to Chicago and Las Vegas from another contractor.

- Enriched his New Orleans-based family granite supply company through dealings with the city.

Before and during Hurricane Katrina, Nagin had already participated in poorly preparing the city for such a disaster, and his failure to act competently (remember the lot full of school buses?) led to deaths.  But now, to learn that during the aftermath of Katrina, while the city of New Orleans struggled to rebuild, Nagin's alleged corrupt activities were taking place, is something that has got to be angering the people of the Louisiana city.

Tulane University History Professor Terrence Fitzmorris calls it "betrayal."  Fitzmorris said. "He's doing this while the city was at its lowest point."

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 Nagin was among a number of democrats critical of the Bush administration for not doing enough, or getting federal agencies into the area soon enough, as Governor Kathleen Blanco refused to declare a State of Emergency, or invite federal assistance.  State Sovereignty, and the Constitution, does not allow the federal government to march into a State uninvited.

Though re-elected in 2006, criticism of Nagin began to brew as the pace of rebuilding remained slow, and the violent crime rate in the city of New Orleans was surging.  The investigation of corruption against Nagin has even his most ardent supporters abandoning him.  Nagin was succeeded by Mitch Landrieau as mayor in 2010.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Note: Just an observation - The USA Today article never mentions Nagin is a democrat.  If he was a republican, I am thinking it would have been splashed all over the article. 

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