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Cantrell's office started investigation into deputy who served as Councilwoman's driver

"That was really politics at its worst, and it was retaliatory in nature," said Councilwoman Helena Moreno

NEW ORLEANS — An Orleans Parish Sheriff’s deputy assigned as a driver for City Council President Helena Moreno has been cleared of allegations that he took photographs and video of Mayor LaToya Cantrell near the Pontalba Apartments, but documents obtained by WWL-TV now show what Moreno has been saying all along: the unfounded complaint was lodged by the mayor herself.

The documents are the latest twist in the ongoing political tensions between the two high-powered city officials. Moreno, rumored to be a possible mayoral candidate in the future, even threatened to dock the mayor’s pay if she didn’t reimburse the city for flight upgrades to first-class.

Moreno said the report clearing Malveaux shows that “this was all just very much rumor-based. That it was really just politics at its worst, and that it was retaliatory in nature.”

Sgt. Greg Malveaux was pulled off of his assignment as Moreno’s driver  after CAO Gilbert Montano wrote an Oct. 7 email to

Sheriff Susan Hutson which stated, “On behalf of the Administration the Mayor requests the reassignment of Sheriff Greg Malveaux based on your discretion.”

Hutson did just that, but only after 10 investigative interviews by the sheriff’s internal affairs division determined the allegations to be “unfounded.”

“None of the individuals interviewed indicated having knowledge of misconduct on the part of Sergeant Malveaux, and none of the individuals interviewed indicated having knowledge of any individual claiming to have direct knowledge of misconduct,” states the report, signed by Internal Affairs Investigator Kevin Talley and Assistant Sheriff Kristen Morales.

Among the findings in the report is a statement from one of Malveaux’s supervisor, Chief Melvin Howard of the Civil Division, first received information from a member of the mayor’s security team, NOPD officer Louis Martinez, who told him that “the mayor was ‘livid’ about Sergeant Malveaux following her around taking pictures and that she wanted to make sure Sheriff Hutson was aware.”

Officer Martinez, in turn, told the investigators “that the mayor was pissed about rumors.”

Those rumors, according to the report, came from “several police officers,” but none of those officers are named in the report.

“It's disappointing to see all this” Moreno said. “I think it's all just a complete waste of time and really hurt a good officer's reputation. I think it's going to be apparent for the council to take a look at some policy change to make sure this doesn't happen again to another city employee.”

The escalation of tensions came about because of the controversy surrounding Cantrell when pictures and videos surfaced showing the mayor using the city-controlled apartment in the historic Pontalba Apartment complex, which overlooks Jackson Square. Cantrell has admitted to using the apartment, but said she was just doing what other mayors have done in the past.

Malveaux, also interviewed by the sheriff’s investigators, denied taking any pictures of the mayor and is now back at his City Hall job. But his sudden reassignment is now raising allegations of a political hit job.

The mayor’s communications director Greg Joseph pushed back in a statement emailed to WWL-TV.

“After receiving information from the NOPD that raised concerns about her personal safety, the Mayor directed the CAO to take the steps necessary to address these valid safety concerns,” Joseph wrote. “As the report highlights, several public safety officials interviewed by Sheriff Hutson’s office attest to hearing “similar allegations involving Sergeant Malveaux.”

“Throughout Sheriff Hutson’s report,” Joseph continued, “numerous public safety officials detail several additional allegations against Malveaux which offers further justification that an investigation was reasonable and warranted. Even though the Sheriff’s Office conclusion failed to consider this well-documented pattern of allegations, the Mayor, who takes her personal security and the safety and wellbeing of the public very seriously, implores anyone who feels that a threat to their personal safety exists to immediately notify the proper authorities.”

But Rafael Goyeneche, president of the non-profit watchdog group the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said his office was the first to show pictures of the mayor at the Pontalba and said weeks ago they came from a private citizen.
“So this whole report is just confirmation that this was a political witch hunt and that this was retaliation,” Goyeneche said. “So you have the sheriff and the mayor retaliating against one of their critics, who's the female council member-at-large, Helena Moreno. So I think this is a black eye for the city.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office wrote,  “As a matter of policy, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office doesn’t comment on personnel matters. The report speaks for itself.”  

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