NEW ORLEANS -- With the news that local businessman Rodney Williams has admitted bribing former mayor Ray Nagin to get contracts, current Mayor Mitch Landrieu has ordered his city attorney to terminate remaining contracts with the company Williams founded.
Williams, the former president of Three Fold Consultants, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud in federal court Wednesday.
Three Fold got more than $3 million in city work under Nagin, then continued to get contracts and change orders valued at more than $1 million from the Landrieu administration. Even before Williams' guilty plea, Jefferson Parish President John Young called on the parish council to terminate Three Fold's work for the parish, while Landrieu initially would only say that the company would not get further work.
But Landrieu spokesman Ryan Berni told WWL-TV on Wednesday night that the mayor had "ordered the City Attorney's Office to begin the process of terminating Three Fold’s contracts with the City while our Capital Project team works to ensure there is minimal disruption to ongoing projects. Public corruption cannot be tolerated."
Berni also noted that Landrieu revamped Nagin's closed-door professional services contractor selection process and made sure the scoring and review was done by an independent panel in open meetings. Nagin famously fought the City Council to keep his review panel work a secret.
Williams left Three Fold to his former partners, Tarek Elnaggar and Bassam Mekari, a few months ago when Williams began negotiating his plea deal. But all of the eight open contracts the company has with the city of New Orleans were signed by Williams, including a deal signed just in August for Lower 9th Ward streetscaping -- a contract capped at more than $800,000.