NEW ORLEANS – LaToya Cantrell, City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate, used her taxpayer-funded city credit card to pay for $8,950 in personal or political purchases since she took office as councilwoman in 2012, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
Cantrell later made a reimbursement payment of more than $4,400 to the city’s fiscal office days after qualifying as a candidate for mayor.
Records of the reimbursements were provided to The New Orleans Advocate by Desiree Charbonnet’s campaign, Cantrell’s opponent. The Charbonnet campaign said its analysis was based on public-records requests. Cantrell’s office was also provided a copy of the document and did not deny that charges and reimbursements occurred.
According to Charbonnet’s camp analysis, Cantrell reimbursed the city on 11 different dates beginning in October 2013 and in five cases she made the reimbursements from a personal account. Six were reimbursed by her campaign account.
State law prohibits public money from being used for personal or campaign expenses. Cantrell’s campaign said that the reimbursements show Cantrell’s commitment to ensuring that no personal expenses were made on a card paid for with public money.
Cantrell’s campaign spokesman David Winkler-Schmit said the Charbonnet camp’s analysis was “a desperate attempt to impugn the councilwoman’s reputation.”