Share This Page

Ex-New Orleans Mayor Nagin charged with bribery

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 7:02 p.m.
Getty Images
FILE - JANUARY 18: According to reports, former mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, has been charged with 21 corruption charges. NEW ORLEANS - MAY 21: New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, speaks at a media conference after mass at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church May 21, 2006 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nagin defeated challenger Mitch Landrieu in the mayoral run-off election yesterday. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Ray Nagin, who was elevated to the national stage as the combative mayor of a New Orleans crushed beneath floodwaters spawned by Hurricane Katrina, has been indicted on bribery and related charges, officials announced on Friday.

The charges stem from an ongoing corruption investigation of Nagin's two terms in office beginning in 2002.

Two former city officials and two businessmen, Frank Fradella and Rodney Williams, have pleaded guilty in connection with the scandal and are expected to testify against Nagin.

Among the 21 counts, 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 Fradella, who secured millions of dollars in city contract work after the 2005 hurricane.

Nagin, a former cable television executive, was a political novice before being elected to his first term, buoyed by strong support from white voters.

When Katrina hit in 2005, levees broke, and as much as 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded. Nagin was criticized for failing to make sure that the city's most vulnerable residents were evacuated as the storm approached. The Superdome and convention center became scenes of misery for days as thousands, many of them ill or elderly, languished amid shortages of food and water.

Nagin gained a reputation for colorful and sometimes cringe-inducing rhetoric. During an interview shortly after the storm, the Democrat angrily pleaded with federal officials to “get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans.”

Strong support from black voters helped Nagin win re-election in 2006, but a surge in violent crime and the budding City Hall corruption probe chipped away at Nagin's popularity.

Nagin has largely steered clear of the political arena since he left office.

Mitch Landrieu, Nagin's successor, said it was a “sad day” for the city.

“Today's indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin alleges serious violations of the public's trust,” he said in a statement. “Public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.