NEW ORLEANS - Six figure payoffs and free truckloads of granite...stunning new details as a Covington businessman with ties to former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin plead guilty in federal court.
(read the bill of information)
Disaster rebuilding contractor Frank Fradella appeared in court on Wednesday and copped a plea.
As part of an agreement with the government, he admitted to committing securities fraud in Texas and conspiring to bribe a public official in New Orleans who is believed to be Nagin.
Fradella's attorney Randy Smith says in exchange for the money, his client received lucrative city rebuilding contracts.
"Generally favorable treatment, bidding on lots of contracts and having the public official "A" be able to help make sure those contracts come through," said Smith.
According to the factual basis in support of the guilty pleas, Fradella gave the public official a check for $50,000.
The document also says Fradella "facilitated" a $10,000 a month consulting contract for the official once he left office in May 2010 and gave the official truck-loads of free granite.
Nagin and his sons obtained a contract to install granite countertops for Home Depot after Hurricane Katrina.
The former mayor has not been charged with any crime and prosecutors have yet to name him in court documents or in public.
"It would be legally and from a policy statement wholly inappropriate for me to indicate to whom the bribes were paid at this point," said U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
Fradella's attorney says the feds revealed only enough to obtain his client's guilty plea, but there are more allegations of wrongdoing in the pipeline.
"I don't think that's probably all that the government intends to use against public official "A" or all that my client may be able to help with," said Smith.
Prosecutors admit the investigation into possible city hall corruption is far from over.
"We will continue to follow the evidence wherever it take us and will not stop until that's complete," said Letten.
Fradella is the latest former Nagin associate now playing for "Team USA.
Other cooperating witnesses include former city chief technology officers Greg Meffert and Anthony Jones and businessman Aaron Bennett.
"Those cooperations that we obtain allow us to follow the evidence, allow us to corroborate the evidence we already have," said Letten. "We do that a thoroughly as we possibly can."
Nagin's attorney Robert Jenkins made a brief appearance at the federal courthouse.
"We have no comment about anything that's going on at the moment," said Jenkins. "I'm actually over here on something totally different."
Fradella's sentencing is now set for September 26. As part of the plea agreement he faces up to 7 years behind bars.