A new Louisiana Legislative audit paints a disturbing picture of mismanagement and questionable spending by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and its former leaders, Grammy-winner Irvin Mayfield and his longtime business and music partner Ronald Markham.
A tip from the Metropolitan Crime Commission led to the state audit.
"It's a pattern that you're seeing where other people's money was used inappropriately in large part of the benefit of the two individuals that are under indictment," MCC president Rafael Goyeneche.
Mayfield, NOJO's founder and Markham, the nonprofit's CEO are charged with total of 23 counts in federal court, including fraud and money laundering.
They are accused of lining their pockets and supporting their jazz orchestra with more than $1.3 million from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation.
According to the state audit, Mayfield and Markham also diverted city grants earmarked for a sculpture garden at Armstrong Park and state money NOJO received to help build a jazz market in the Central City neighborhood.
Among the claims, the two men misspent nearly $180 thousand on lodging and entertainment that appeared to be personal in nature.
That included nearly $19,000 for a 7 night stay at the Ritz Carlton in New York City along with $9,000 in incidental expenses for things such as ground transportation, meals and spa services.
"Once we would see that money come in, into a NOJO account, we would see a good portion of it go out into other accounts for things like payroll and other operating expenses," LLA audit manager Greg Clapinski said.
That included paying Mayfield and Markham's six figure salaries.
Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly and attorney Sara Johnson released a statement criticizing the LLA and the audit.
"The LLA report is reckless, unsupported, and contrary to known facts," the statement said. "And its timing is convenient—released as Mr. Mayfield and Mr. Markham attempt to defend themselves against federal charges."
Copies of the state audit were forwarded to state and federal prosecutors for review.
Mayfield and Markham are now scheduled to stand trial in federal court next year on April 29.
Below is the full statement by Mayfield and Markham. Can't see the document? Click here.