New Orleans Mayor Investigated

New Orleans Mayor Investigated

Published May 8, 2009

Did New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin spend public dollars to spirit his wife and kids away to tropical paradises? A Louisiana ethics panel wants to know.

According to a formal complaint filed against the mayor on Wednesday by Raphael Goyeneche of the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission, one of those dreamlike getaways was a first-class jaunt to Jamaica in 2005, during the time that the Big Easy was trying to recover from Killer Katrina. Goyeneche contends that the round-trip excursions to Jamaica and Hawaii, the year before, cost more than $6,000 and was paid for by Nagin’s former IT director, Greg Meffert. Nagin also allegedly took a trip to Chicago with his wife for a fundraiser in May 2006.

"There's no trip with Meffert," Nagin told WDSU anchor Norman Robinson on Tuesday. "There's no evidence that I took trips and used tickets he bought."

On Wednesday, he added, "Now they're saying [Meffert] paid for a Jamaican trip," he said. "That's tough for me to recall that, because that was right after Katrina. The November after Hurricane Katrina – everything for me is a blur. So I'm going to stick to my testimony and what I have in the affidavit."

Nagin said he doesn't think he did anything wrong. Meffert said in a sworn statement Netmethods, a company owned by Mark St. Pierre, paid for the trip. St. Pierre ran another company that had a contract with New Orleans.

"Yes, Mr. St. Pierre owned a company and, yes, Meffert got money from them," attorney Randy Smith said. "But at the end of the day, there were no wrongdoings."

Written by Staff


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