Nagin: 'No problem' with hiring white-collar felons as contractors

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by Bigad Shaban / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on December 4, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Updated Monday, May 10 at 10:40 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- Responding to a recent story about the City of New Orleans hiring convicted felons, Mayor Ray Nagin said he had 'no problem' with hiring white-collar felons as contractors.

Nagin spoke out about a 4 Investigates piece, concerning a pair of contractors recently hired by his office, who happen to be convicted felons. 

Both companies were contracted by the city to conduct general repairs to city buildings, but the men heading the two companies have a recent criminal past in public corruption relating to city contracts.

"If you have a legitimate business license, if you have the expertise, and if you bid and it's a responsive bid than pretty much we're required to go with that particular person," said Nagin.

When asked whether he would support a law disqualifying felons from getting future city contracts, Nagin said "I think it depends upon the conviction. I don't want child molesters and rapists, and those kind of people, but if somebody has made a mistake and has a white-collar crime and they've paid their time and they're back in the business, then I don't really see a problem with that."

Nagin was then asked how he would respond to those who may find a problem with giving government contracts to those who have been convicted of stealing from the government. 

"I would say, hopefully, they've learned their lesson and we're smart enough to not let them steal again."

On Monday, Councilwoman Stacy Head plans to introduce a law that would prevent the city from doing business with felons caught up in corruption.

 

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