Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted on 21 corruption charges including bribery, money laundering and wire fraud in an investigation that has already resulted in guilty pleas from two former city officials and two businessmen. The charges date back to Nagin’s time in office, alleging that he took cash bribes and gifts from two city contractors. The bribes included $50,000 and shipments of free granite (personally I would have said hold the granite, I’ll just take $60,000). The bribes came from one Frank Fradella, a corrupt city contractor who ran a disaster relief firm (and may or may not have stepped off the pages of an Elmore Leonard paperback).
Nagin was New Orleans mayor for two terms (after which he was termed out) and rose to national prominence with his vocal criticisms of George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina. The 21 counts of corruption against Nagin include six counts of bribery, one count of conspiracy, one count of money laundering, nine counts of deprivation of honest services through wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns. To those who had been following the story, Nagin’s indictment is not the least bit surprising.