Because the criminal charges against former Mayor Ray Nagin include allegations that Nagin’s family members received payoffs in exchange for city contracts, there has been speculation that Nagin’s two adult sons would also be charged or that the government would push for a guilty plea from Nagin in exchange for sparing his sons.
But as Nagin appears in court to enter a formal plea, the attorney for his sons, Jeremy and Jarin Nagin, says he has not had any conversations with prosecutors.
In fact, the attorney, Clarence Roby Jr., said he reached out to prosecutors to talk about the sons' exposure and has not heard back.
“I have not been approached by the government about any plea deals involving the sons, my clients,” Roby told Eyewitness News today. “I have reached out to the government to see if there’s any discussion to be had and they have not gotten back to me.”
He said it's very frustrating to have this hanging over his clients' heads.
Jeremy and Jarin Nagin co-owned the granite countertop firm Stone Age LLC with their father while he was mayor. The indictment says that the company received more than $120,000 in payments from city contractors as kickbacks for the mayor’s help in City Hall. At least $10,000 of that was a cash payment directly to the sons.
Meanwhile, another big question-mark hanging over the indictment was the identity of “Businessman A.” While the rest of the players in the indictment and the alleged freebies they paid Nagin had already been exposed, the alleged arrangement with “Businessman A” was new.
Prosecutors allege "Businessman A" arranged for and later paid for a trip for Nagin and his family to New York City as thanks for waiving taxes and loan payments.
Sources tell us that "Businessman A" is one of the owners of the abandoned Grand Theatre in New Orleans East, a blighted building in the vacant former Lake Forest Plaza shopping center. As we reported last month, one of the Grand owners, First NBC Bank president Ashton Ryan wrote a letter to Nagin in 2007 which mentioned how Nagin had met with two other owners of the theater, George Solomon Jr. of Southern Theatres and Alden McDonald Jr. of Liberty Bank, and agreed to waive the tax penalties.
We filed a public records request and received the documents showing that tax penalty waiver and – in typical fashion for a Nagin administration known for losing the mayor’s emails and protecting his public calendar – the records are just a couple of hand-written scratches and a new balance written in with no explanation. (See document)
That could explain why former Nagin recovery czar Ed Blakely wrote a letter to the Grand Theatre partners in 2007 demanding all of the back taxes and loan payments, apparently unaware of the waivers Nagin had granted in 2004 and 2005. (See document)