Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 21 corruption charges, including wire fraud, bribery, filing false tax returns and money laundering. The charges are related to dealings with vendors seeking contracts to clean up and rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. Two former city officials and two businessmen involved in the scandal have already pled guilty, the Associated Press reports.
Nagin, who served as the city's mayor from 2002-2010, is accused of accepting more than $160,000 in bribes and free granite for a family business in exchange for a city contract for Frank Fradella, a local businessman who is cooperating with the authorities. The charges also include accepting $60,000 from another businessman in exchange for city contracts, a free private jet and limousine services.
The former mayor had no real political experience before being elected and thanks to African-American voters, was re-elected despite his poor performance post-Katrina.
Nagin, 56, captured the nation's attention after the storm when he slammed government response to the disaster in a radio interview, calling on federal officials to “get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their a---s moving to New Orleans.”
He also is the author of a self-published memoir called Katrina's Secrets: Storms After the Storm, a concept that may now have deeper and more disturbing meaning for him.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)