Government alleges he received over $200,000 in cash, plus free granite and travel
Ray Nagin, the 60th Mayor of the City of New Orleans, who said in an interview just weeks before he left office in May 2010 that there had been "no corruption" on his watch, has been indicted on 21 corruption charges including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering.
The charges announced Friday come from a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen.
The counts include wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, filing false tax returns and conspiracy.
Prosecutors allege that the 56-year-old Nagin received over $200,000 in cash, free granite for his granite countertop business and free travel for himself and his family.
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 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.
New in the 25-page indictment Friday was an allegation that Nagin also received free private jet and limousine services to New York from an unidentified businessman who owned a movie theater in New Orleans East. Nagin is accused of waiving tax penalties that the businessman owed on a deliquent tax bill.
A former Cox Cable executive, Nagin was a political novice before being elected to his first term as mayor in 2002, buoyed by strong support from white voters.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 elevated him to the national stage, where he gained a reputation for colorful and sometimes cringe-inducing rhetoric.
Nagin has largely steered clear of the political arena since he left office. On his Twitter account, he describes his current occupations as author, public speaker and “green energy entrepreneur.” He wrote a self-published memoir called “Katrina’s Secrets: Storms After the Storm.”
It's unclear whether Nagin will go to trial. The former Mayor, who has repeatedly insisted he did nothing improper, could still enter into a plea deal with the government.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)