Color me not surprised.
C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of this city who fulminated against the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina but became for many a symbol of the shortcomings of government himself, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on 21 counts including conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.
The indictment detailed a wide-ranging scheme of kickbacks and pay-for-play of a kind not entirely unfamiliar in Louisiana history. Contractors and vendors looking for work with the city would provide the mayor with vacations, big checks and even free granite for his family business. In exchange, they would be awarded lucrative contracts with the city, assistance in defusing community opposition to their projects and even forgiveness of tax penalties.
While federal prosecutors have convicted a Louisiana governor, a congressman, a city councilman and members of the school board in the past 15 years alone, this is the first time in New Orleans history that a mayor has been indicted on corruption charges.
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