Corruption

Monday, February 25, 2013

Y@ Speak: Roll out the red carpet edition

Posted By on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM


This week's Y@ Speak celebrates the famous and infamous, from corrupt local politicians to actual celebrities. A red carpet-caliber media presence greeted former Mayor Ray Nagin at his federal court appearance Wednesday, and then the real red carpet rolled out for the 2013 Academy Awards — which prompted the adorable Quvenzhane Wallis to be the subject of both positive and negative attention. Don't mess with Hushpuppy, y'all. Feel free to mess with Nagin.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

The Governor's Wife pushed back ... again

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Will we ever get to see the The Governor's Wife? After news that the premiere of the A&E reality series following former La. governor Edwin Edwards and his 34-year-old wife Trina had been pushed from Feb. 27 to March 13, today the network announced the show won't air until sometime this summer.

According A&E's press release, the date chance is to accomodate a time slot shift by fellow Louisiana reality show Duck Dynasty, which premieres 9 p.m. local time Feb. 27.

"It was a decision made by the network," said Shaun Sanghani, The Governor's Wife creator and producer, in a Facebook message. "It is very common in the TV world for premiere dates to shift as they update and adjust their schedules."

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Governor's Wife premiere pushed to March 13

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM

The premiere of The Governor's Wife, the A&E reality show featuring former La. governor Edwin Edwards and his 34-year-old wife Trina has been moved to March 13, according to a Facebook post by show creator and producer Shaun Sanghani.

Sanghani's company, SSS Entertainment, was working on a show called Wanks, which would follow "the party-fueled lives of young guys and girls living on the West Bank of New Orleans, where every weekend is Mardi Gras." The show was sold to Oxygen in 2011 but the network never picked it up.

The Governor's Wife will follow "Trina as she attempts to fit into the former governor’s upscale world and busy social life while trying to get along with daughters twice her age and corral her teenage sons." The show airs at 9 p.m. local time, after fellow Louisiana-based reality show Duck Dynasty.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Nagin’s road to perdition

Posted on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Ray_Nagin_Cheryl_Gerber.jpeg

Was former Mayor Ray Nagin corruptible from the get-go, or did he lose his way over time in a series of small missteps that escalated into the bribery schemes alleged in the 21-count federal indictment leveled against him? Gambit contributor Stephanie Grace and political editor Clancy DuBos offer different views — but perhaps each is correct, in its own way. Read both viewpoints here:

By His Own Rules

By Stephanie Grace

Nearly a dozen action-packed years later, it’s a little hard to put into words just how exhilarating disgraced former mayor Ray Nagin’s breakthrough moment was, and why.

In hindsight, his casually blunt assertion that “Man, I think we need to sell that sucker” — the “sucker” being the city-owned Louis Armstrong International Airport — was a silly, impractical and poorly thought out scheme to raise up to a billion dollars for badly needed infrastructure improvements. Like so many of Nagin’s big, bold ideas, it went nowhere.

But back when Nagin first uttered those words, well into a long, bureaucratic candidate debate leading up to the 2002 mayoral election, the bleary crowd jolted awake. Strange as it now seems, that zinger, as much as anything else, helped launch the little-known cable TV executive’s improbable journey from also-ran to mayor — and now, to accused crook.

It wasn’t just that Nagin was funny and charming; he surely was both. What clicked was that he was different.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nagin arraignment pushed back to Feb. 20

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 4:03 PM

U.S. District Court Judge Helen Berrigan ordered an arraignment and initial court appearance for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pushed back several weeks. The hearing, originally scheduled for Jan. 31, is now scheduled for Feb. 20, at 2 p.m., before federal Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan.

Last week, a federal grand jury returned a 21-count indictment against Nagin, following a lengthy investigation into allegations that the former mayor accepted bribes in return for preferable treatment from City Hall during his 2002-2010 tenure. The indictment alleges that Nagin accepted more than $200,000, as well as vacations, from local businessmen, paying them back with lucrative city contracts. He has also been charged with money laundering and filing false tax returns, both related to the alleged bribes.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Y@ Speak gets dirty

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM




nagincoloringbook.jpg
  • @lunanola

This week's tweets were filled with talk of a dirty politician, the Dirty Birds and the grand dame of dirt, the annual procession of animatronic intercourse known as Krewe du Vieux — which came early but we were totally OK with that. Also this week: New Orleans suffers residual effects of Bieber Fever.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Ray Nagin indicted

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 2:29 PM

TheIndictment2.png

A federal grand jury returned a 21 count indictment against former Mayor Ray Nagin this morning at federal court in downtown New Orleans. Nagin's charges include money laundering, filing false tax returns, wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Nagin is accused of accepting bribes from city contractors Frank Fradella, of Home Solutions of America and Home Solutions Restoration of Louisiana, and Rodney Williams, of Three Fold Constultants, who were recently convicted of bribing "Public Official A" — Nagin, as the federal government officially acknowledged today — in exchange for millions in city contracts. Nagin is also charged with receiving bribes from city contractors Mark St. Pierre and Aaron Bennett, both convicted of bribing other public officials, and a movie theater owner identified only as "Businessman A."

Fradella pleaded guilty to paying Nagin $50,000 in 2008 after his company had been awarded more than $4 million in construction work at Louis Armstrong International Airport and sidewalk repair in the French Quarter. Fradella allegedly funneled the money to Nagin through a trust fund controlled by Michael McGrath, then Home Solutions of America's chairman. Fradella also admitted to providing free granite inventory to Stone Age, LLC, a company owned by Nagin and his sons, Jeremy and Jarin.

(More after the jump)

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Edwin Edwards reality show officially happening

Posted By on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Its happening.
  • screengrab from Entertainment Weekly website
  • It's happening.
There had been talk of a reality show featuring former La. governor Edwin Edwards and his 34-year-old wife Trina, but that rumor seemed to go the way of the supposed Real Housewives of New Orleans. But Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the show, called The Governor's Wife, will premiere on A&E Feb. 27.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The New Yorker on Letten's office and "online trolls"

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 4:15 PM

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten at the Danziger trial verdict in August 2011.
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • U.S. Attorney Jim Letten at the Danziger trial verdict in August 2011.

The recent shakeups and breakups under U.S. Attorney Jim Letten amid an online comment controversy caught the eyes at The New Yorker, where Jack Hitt gives the blow-by-blow in "How Forensic Linguistics Identified Online Trolls in New Orleans." Just how exactly did investigators nail down NOLA.com commenters Henry L. Mencken1951 and eweman as Sal Perricone and Jan Mann?

Here's the (brief) saga of James Fitzgerald, "forensic linguistics" specialist and the FBI agent who helped link the Unabomber to Ted Kaczynski.

And a tip from Hitt: "Heloise-like tip to newbie trolls: don’t create an anonymous handle that includes the year of your own birth (Henry L. Mencken1951) or one that contains a homonym of your own name (eweman)."

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Friday, December 7, 2012

After Letten

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 12:47 AM

The late Mayor Dutch Morial once told me, “In this game, it’s not your enemies you have to worry about. It’s your friends — they’ll do you in every time.” I thought of that as I watched U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resign. Letten, like so many others in public life — including, ironically, some that he prosecuted — was brought down by his friends.

Letten had a remarkable prosecutorial run. He put a lot of crooks in jail, and a few more appear on their way there.

His demise came at the hands of two of his most trusted deputies — former First Assistant Jan Mann and former trial supervisor Sal Perricone — who now face potential criminal exposure themselves for their inappropriate and unprofessional online rants. Ironically, Letten always gave his colleagues the credit for his office’s success.

Two of those colleagues paid him back by causing his downfall. Mann and Perricone’s online histrionics, coupled with Mann’s apparent mendacity in her handling of an in-house investigation into leaks and online postings (more irony), became too much for the DOJ to bear. Letten had to go, and he accepted his fate with his hallmark grit.

What now?

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