Breaking News
More () »

Mayor's office admits to using French Quarter apartment

The Metropolitan Crime Commission asking city council to investigate Mayor Cantrell's alleged use of city apartment.

NEW ORLEANS — The Mayor’s Office now admits – Latoya Cantrell has been living in a city-owned apartment rent-free. A city spokesman acknowledged the mayor has been living without paying rent in the apartment in the historic Upper Pontalba building on Jackson Square, but said she has every right to do so.

The Upper-Pontalba, managed by the French Market Corp, has been her home for months. 

The Metropolitan Crime Commission sent the New Orleans City Council a report Thursday requesting an investigation into Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s alleged use of a city-owned apartment in the French Quarter.

RELATED: Mayor Cantrell's spokesman admits she's been living in city-owned apartment rent free

The agency's report included pictures and allegations from neighbors. The market rate to rent there is $2,991 a month, but Mayor Cantrell has apparently not paid any rent this year.

A Jackson Square employee told Eyewitness News she's seen Mayor Cantrell walking in the direction towards apartment 530B.

Records obtained by WWL-TV through a public records request found emails from the Mayor asking a city staffer to get things fixed in the apartment. They showed the Mayor complaining the shower wasn't hot in January, asking to fix a toilet seat back in February, and the WiFi wouldn't work in March.

MCC president Rafael Goyeneche is questioning whether living rent-free in a city property is allowed.

RELATED: Petition to recall Mayor Cantrell has 20% of signatures needed

“That's an additional benefit tax-free that she's been receiving. She doesn't need to be residing there or using that. And I think that it's a misuse and abuse of her authority. But I'm waiting to see what the city council's position is.” 

Across the way from the alleged apartment, the Cantrell recall booth, one campaigner saying, "Taking advantage of amenities that may or may not be hers to begin with."

"Its ridiculous we have a city that is so fantastic as New Orleans and so poorly run," A business owner offering harsh criticism of the Mayor said.

But there’s support for the Mayor on Twitter, One user called out the MCC, saying, "During a wave of violent crime against the citizens of New Orleans — who authorized the MCC expenditure of hundreds of manpower hours in surveillance on a mayor changing her clothes at an apartment owned by the City?"

Others weighed in – calling the investigation sexist, and saying past mayors used the apartment.

City Councilman Eugene Green, who sits on the French Market Corp. board that manages the Upper Pontalba, said he reviewed policies and didn't see a problem. 

"Councilmember Green is not aware of any regulations or procedures that may have been violated," Green's chief of staff Sandra Thomas said.

Click here to report a typo.


► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.

Before You Leave, Check This Out