A contractor and developer who figures into the corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded guilty to fraud Thursday in federal court in Dallas.
Brian Marshall was supposed to begin his fraud trial when he copped a plea instead. Marshall pleaded guilty to one count of fraud for his role falsifying business for a Home Solutions of America, a publicly traded company that got major contracts repairing streets, sidewalks and French Market stalls in New Orleans when Nagin was mayor.
Home Solutions' CEO, Frank Fradella, has already pleaded guilty to bribing Nagin with a $50,000 payoff and truckloads of free granite for Nagin's family countertop business. Fradella also allegedly helped Nagin's company, Stone Age, get a contract installing countertops for the Home Depot.
Fradella and Marshall were partners and Marshall's company, Fireline Restoration, was a Home Solutions subsidiary.
Fireline provided a private jet so another partner of Fradella and Marshall, Aaron Bennett, could fly Nagin and his wife, Seletha, to Chicago for the 2007 NFC Championship Game and on to Las Vegas to meet Fradella.
Fradella also allegedly used Fireline to transport the free granite to Stone Age, according to sources and court records.
Court records show that the government agreed to drop one of two counts against Marshall on Tuesday, and the start of the trial Thursday became a change-of-plea hearing that lasted just 45 minutes.