Deep-pocketed members of business community finance anti-Charbonnet campaign

NEW ORLEANS -- A campaign finance report has revealed that an anti-Desiree Charbonnet political action committee is backed financially by deep-pocketed members of the business community.

Not For Sale NOLA, which in recent weeks has amped up its attacks against Charbonnet with online and TV ad as well as mailers, raised $190,000 during the most recent filing period, which ended Wednesday. It spent just more than $101,000 and had $88,000 on hand, according to the report.

The two largest donors were Leslie Jacobs and Lane Grigsby, both charter school advocates. Grigsby is a Baton Rouge businessman who has funded conservative campaigns over the state’s public school policies. Each donated $40,000.

Businessman Jay Lapeyre, head of Laitram LLC who is also involved with the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, gave $25,000.

Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, the shipbuilding magnate, donated $15,000, as did Crescent Bank and Trust, according to the report.

Lapeyre and Bollinger are backing retired Judge Michael Bagneris in the race. He has denied any connection to Not For Nola.

The PAC says that while it is advocating votes against Charbonnet, it's not endorsing any candidate. A statement released Thursday, though, indicated it favored at least two candidates.

“There are many fine choices for voters to consider among the 17 other candidates who are vying to be mayor - candidates who do not have this history of cronyism and patronage - including frontrunners LaToya Cantrell and Michael Bagneris," the statement read.

A WWL-TV/New Orleans Advocate poll released Monday shows City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell in the lead among all voters surveyed, with 27 percent. Charbonnet is close behind, with 26 percent. Bagneris is third, with 19 percent.

Not For Sale Nola’s ads and mailers have revived accusations Charbonnet hired friends and relatives of her political allies and supports while she held previous jobs, raise questions about her inner circle and suggest a pay-to-play scenario for contracts if she is elected mayor.

The PAC also said in its statement the former Municipal Court judge has "has dodged debates and attempted to divert attention by making ridiculous accusations at those who shine a light on her record."

The Charbonnet campaign did not respond Thursday morning to a request from comment from WWL-TV.

Not For Sale Nola spent a combined $22,000 to place ads on Facebook and Google, according to the report, and $45,000 on mailers.

The primary is Oct. 14.

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