Ray Nagin

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nagin pleads not guilty to all counts

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Nagin with attorney Robert Jenkins following the hearing
  • Nagin with attorney Robert Jenkins following the hearing

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin — charged with felonies ranging from accepting bribes, filing false tax returns and money laundering in a federal corruption case — pleaded not guilty to all 21 counts in a brief arraignment hearing today.

Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan granted the former mayor a $100,000 bond. Under the terms of the bond, Nagin will have to surrender his passport and limit his travel to Louisiana and Texas, except with permission of the court. He is not allowed to speak to any potential witnesses in the case.

The back of Ray Nagins head
  • The back of Ray Nagin's head

Nagin refused to speak to media after the hearing. Walking away from U.S. District Court with attorney Robert Jenkins, Nagin stared ahead silently as reporters pelted him with questions.

Shushan scheduled a pretrial conference date for April 16. The trial is set to begin on April 29, as of today. Given the complexity of the case, however, that is likely to be pushed back, should it end up going to trial.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Y@ Speak: The Beyonce Blackout Bowl edition

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

New Orleans: You're like a quirky, twentysomething daughter who insists on hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her tiny shotgun house in a "weird" part of town. Things are going well at first — no one's arguing about politics and grandma actually seems to enjoy the silken tofu and kale dip — but then you end up burning the turkey.

The great Super Bowl blackout happened after unprecedented amounts of bootyliciousness during the halftime show. But you know what? It's fine. The week leading up to the big event was a fun, decadent time for celebrities, media and regular folks alike; I doubt visitors enjoy themselves this much during Super Bowls in other places. You may have burnt the turkey, but Aunt Cheryl totally wants to come back next year.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Nagin’s road to perdition

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


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

  • @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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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gambit TV: Stephanie Grace on Informed Sources discussing Ray Nagin indictment

Posted By on Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 10:19 AM


Gambit political contributor Stephanie Grace was on last night's Informed Sources on WYES-TV, discussing the indictment of former mayor Ray Nagin with host Larry Lorenz, producer Errol Laborde and journalist Dawn Ostrom. The show isn't embeddable, but you can watch it on WYES' website.

Stephanie was also quoted in this morning's New York Times story about Nagin, written by Campbell Robertson. And if you're not following Stephanie on Twitter, why not?

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh, happy day

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Former mayor Ray Nagin, in happier times.
  • Former mayor Ray Nagin, in happier times.
We’re not supposed to rejoice at the suffering of others, but the federal indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin last Friday was nonetheless a cause for a celebration of sorts. Not because Nagin may suffer for his alleged crimes — though he should suffer if he’s convicted — but because now there will be a reckoning.

Now, finally, that clueless, narcissistic poseur will be called to account for some of his many sins against New Orleans.

Oh, happy day.

According to the 21-count indictment, Nagin took more than $200,000 in bribes from at least four city contractors to whom he steered recovery contracts after Hurricane Katrina. All four of them — Rodney Williams, Frank Fradella, Mark St. Pierre and Aaron Bennett — have already been convicted on various federal charges, some of them linked directly to Nagin’s indictment. He also allegedly got free private jet travel and limos (collectively worth more than $20,000) from Businessman A in exchange for favorable tax treatment by City Hall.

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U.S. Attorney Dana Boente's statement on the Nagin indictment

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - C. Ray Nagin, 56, a resident of Frisco, Texas and formerly the Mayor of New Orleans, was charged in a 21-count indictment with bribery, honest service wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, and filing false tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael Anderson, and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge James Lee.

According to today’s federal grand jury indictment, between December 2004 and the present, Nagin and several others participated in a conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud. The indictment alleges that Nagin, in his role as chief executive, devised a scheme to defraud the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through bribery and a kickback scheme, whereby Nagin used his public office and official capacity to provide favorable treatment, including awarding contracts, that benefitted business and financial interest of individuals providing him with bribes and kickbacks in the form of checks, cash, granite inventory, wire transfers, personal services, and free travel. The indictment charges Nagin with accepting numerous bribes and payoffs from consultants and contractors, money laundering conspiracy, and filing false tax returns for the years 2005 to 2008.

“This office will continue its history of investigating and prosecuting public corruption” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “This is an important part of the office’s mission to serve the citizens of the Eastern District of Louisiana and make certain they have honest public officials.”

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Ray Nagin indicted

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


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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Read the federal indictment against former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin

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

Download the complete 25-page indictment United States of America v. C. Ray Nagin a/k/a "Mayor Nagin":


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