Louisiana Political News Wire
EDITORIAL: Blue Hawaii- Trip by Mayor Nagin deserves ethics investigation
Mayor Ray Nagin is disturbingly vague about a Hawaiian vacation for his family that was bankrolled by a company owned by a city contractor.
When the trip came to light at the end of March, he said he didn't know who paid for it. Then he said the tropical getaway was a Christmas gift from his friend and then-technology chief Greg Meffert. Although, he said, it could have been paid for by a private company, but definitely not one that had a contract with the city.
Now New Orleanians know otherwise. In a sworn deposition made public this week by Civil District Court Judge Rose Ledet, Mr. Meffert said that NetMethods -- a company owned by city technology contractor Mark St. Pierre -- footed the bill for the trip to Hawaii in 2004.
An assistant city attorney argued Monday that there was no ethical violation because Mayor Nagin believed Mr. Meffert was his benefactor.
Mr. Meffert argued in the deposition that it wasn't illegal because NetMethods didn't hold a city contract, although another company owned by Mr. St. Pierre did.
And Mayor Nagin told reporters Tuesday, "I don't see a violation." Mr. Meffert said he was paying for the trip, the mayor said. And because NetMethods didn't do city work at the time and is a separate company from the other St. Pierre firm that was performing city work, he said, there was no conflict of interest.
That may prove to be true, but it is not for any of them to decide. The state Board of Ethics ought to investigate the matter.
You may view this story online at http://www.lanewslink.com/archives.php?id=10477.