The Louisiana Board of Ethics hascharged former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin with two possibleviolations, for receiving gifts from a one-time city vendor and forhis involvement with a company that was negotiating tax breaks withthe city.
Copies of the charges, which were sent to Nagin through hisattorney late last month, were received by The Associated Press onFriday.
One charge involves gifts to Nagin paid for by technology firmNetMethods and its owner Mark St. Pierre, who had several citycontracts. NetMethods paid for Nagin and his family to travel toJamaica in 2005, only a few months after Hurricane Katrina, and toHawaii in 2004, according to newspaper reports.
Nagin has publicly said he remembers little about the earlymonths after the storm and was confused about details surroundingthe Jamaica trip. The Times-Picayune reported last year that theMetropolitan Crime Commission filed a complaint with the ethicsboard about the trips.
The ethics board didn't list the trips in its charge, but citedthe state ban on public officials receiving anything of economicvalue from anyone with business before their office.
The other charge involves a countertop installation companyowned by Nagin and his sons. The company, Stone Age LLC, receivedcompensation for services provided to Home Depot when Home Depotwas negotiating tax breaks and other items with the city.
Nagin's lawyer, Harry Rosenberg, didn't immediately return acall for comment Friday.
With the board filing charges, the cases head next to athree-judge panel of administrative law judges to conduct hearingsand make final decisions, ethics board administrator Kathleen Allensaid Friday. Ethics board lawyers will prosecute the charges beforethe judges.
Each charge carries a fine of up to $10,000. Penalties alsocould include a repayment of any gifts or payments deemed improper.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)