NEW ORLEANS -- Nearly nine years after Hurricane Katrina, Stacey Jackson, the former director of the New Orleans Affordable Housing Program, pleaded guilty in a kickback scheme Wednesday in federal court.
Jackson had nothing to say outside of court Wednesday, but in front of a federal judge, Jackson answered yes when asked if she was guilty of taking kickbacks from city contractors.
As director of the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership program, Jackson paid federal grant money to contractors to repair blighted properties after Hurricane Katrina.
She admitted that some of that money - tens of thousands of dollars - was funneled back to her.
"The contractor would be paid for those services and in several cases, the contractor would split the money with Stacey Jackson," said Eyewitness News legal analyst Donald "Chick" Foret.
Foret said Jackson then tried to cover up her crimes.
"Not only did she have the contractor prepare fraudulent invoices, she actually presented those fraudulent invoices and other documents to the grand jury."
Four contractors cut plea deals in the case, which was first exposed in a series of WWL-TV reports, and were prepared to testify against Jackson if she went to trial.
Jackson's plea winds down one of the last Katrina fraud cases. Another one of those cases, that of former Mayor Ray Nagin, ¦will conclude next week with Nagin's sentencing.
But unlike Nagin, who could face decades in prison after being found guilty by a jury, Jackson faces no more than five years.
"It's obvious to me that Ray Nagin should now know that he should have done back in February what Stacey Jackson did today," Foret said.