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Katrina Survivors Pay For Nagin’s Trips

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Mayor Ray Nagin’s trip to China and Australia cost city taxpayers more than $28,770

By Michelle Krupa, The Times-Picayune
October 18, 2009

As Mayor Ray Nagin and a gaggle of New Orleans officials headed to Cuba on Friday for a weeklong fact-finding trip about disaster preparedness, new details emerged about the mayor’s last international junket — chief among them that taxpayers largely wound up footing the bill for the excursion to China and Australia.

Records from the 10-day trip — billed as an effort to lure business to New Orleans — that Nagin, his wife and four other city officials took to Shanghai and Sydney in June reveal that the junket cost city taxpayers more than $28,770.

Originally, Nagin had said an unnamed "sponsor" would repay the city for the bulk of the cost. But administration spokesman James Ross said last week that public griping about that arrangement, including a call by some critics for the mayor to disclose the benefactor’s name, led to a change in plans.

As a result, taxpayers are on the hook.

"Given the negative response to the plans to receive reimbursements from business prospects, the city does not anticipate accepting any further reimbursement, " Ross said by e-mail.

The hubbub over the China-Australia trip came on the heels of news that Mark St. Pierre, whose firms held lucrative city technology subcontracts, had paid for vacations in Hawaii and Jamaica for the mayor and his immediate family. St. Pierre also paid for Nagin and his wife, Seletha, to fly to a fundraiser in Chicago.

Though the mayor has said he didn’t know at the time of the trips who picked up the tab, he has taken heat for accepting the accommodations from someone with business ties to the city.

City officials have never said who was going to bankroll the China trip, and Ross would not shed any new light on that question.

No such arrangement was apparently contemplated for the Cuba pilgrimage: City taxpayers will foot the entire bill for that junket estimated at $2,400-a-head for travel and hotel — for "key city officials." At least 10 local leaders made the trip, Communications Director Ceeon Quiett said Friday in a news release, though she did not respond to an inquiry requesting the number of "key" personnel in the group…

Those records — including invoices, credit card bills and receipts submitted by city employees who traveled with the mayor [to China] — were recently produced by City Hall in response to a request submitted in June by The Times-Picayune. They show officials spent at least $33,017 for flights, hotel rooms, meals, taxis and other unspecified expenses for the trip, which lasted from June 5 to 15.

But among dozens of pages of expenses is just one notice of reimbursement: an Aug. 13 invoice from the University of Sydney for $4,247 for "airfare for Mayor Nagin." A separate invoice from Going Places Travel, the city’s travel agent, includes the notation that the university paid directly for the Nagins’ hotel room in Sydney. Lodging for five nights in Australia for other members of the city delegation cost $920 per room, records show.

Among the expenses, the biggest-ticket items by far were airfare and lodging.

Smaller tabs include those for meals in Shanghai and Sydney, including a $547 dinner in China for the Nagins, Economic Development Director Ernest Gethers, Director of International Affairs Lisa Ponce de Leon, Ross and Smith.

The travelers also spent money on taxis and room service meals, and Ponce de Leon sought to recoup $125 from city coffers that she paid to Qantas Airways in Shanghai for "excess baggage for carrying various gifts for mayor."

It’s hard to say which is worse. To have ‘business interests’ pay for Mr. Nagin and his pals excursions, or the taxpayers.

Of course the real crime is that these hucksters are living the ‘jet set’ life when they have never done an honest day’s work in their lives.

By the way, do note Mr. Nagin’s penchant for vacationing in communist countries.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, October 18th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Katrina Survivors Pay For Nagin’s Trips”

  1. proreason says:

    Mr. Nagin and Mr. Obamy are two peas in a pod, aren’t they?

  2. GL0120 says:

    Why didn’t the Hershey company pay for everything?
    After all, Nagin did say that New Orleans was to be a chocolate city.

  3. VMAN says:

    Going to Cuba to learn about hurricane evacuation? Hey Nagin what about the couple of hundren school buses that were sitting under water after katrina? What about the train service that was offered for FREE but not used? The people stuck in NO would have been better off if they had just walked out when George Bush first issued a warning. Come to Florida if you want to learn what to do (although we really don’t want you). In Florida we were hit with three back to back hurricanes and Jeb Bush handled things like a real man not a pathetic con man.

  4. Rusty Shackleford says:

    On the face of it, that which is not being said is that Nagin never had any business being a political leader. He’s BHO-lite. All about the show, not about the “go”. Except in this case the “go” is go to Cuba, go to China, go to Australia. To many of his type, running for office is like being on “Let’s Make A Deal” and they love all the attention.

    One of the saddest ironies of all, however, is that there are still destitute citizens in that horrid city that think he’s the “schizzle” and “he all dat”.

    But again, I think the majority of this nation’s problem isn’t with the way information is presented so much, as the way people process it. Here at S&L, we see beyond the face of a news story and dissect it and question it for fact-based information. In the liberal world it has to pass the “conservative is bad” test first, and then, they only read/hear the tasty parts that satiate the original premise.

    This is why sales tactics work. This is why the news at 6:30 at night is only 17 minutes of sound-bites and catch phrases.

    And, in another light, this is why texting is so popular and why a sentence is hacked to bits to become cuneiform. Much of society is too mentally lazy to really process information correctly.

    Just my opinion.

  5. Ravenwood says:

    The good voters of New Orleans re-elected this parasite AFTER he horribly botched Katrina. I have no sympathy for them now, let them continue to pay for his incompetence as they seem to want to.

  6. bobdog says:

    Best Katrina T-shirt:

    Drink until Nagin makes sense…

  7. TwilightZoned says:

    It thoroughly amazes me how people continue to vote because of race even when the person demonstrates total incompetence. It shows one not having a mind of one’s own. Nagin was THE most incompetent elected official I had ever witnessed..until Barry came along. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard he was voted back into office. If these people suddenly inherited 6 for brains they’d have a half-dozen.

  8. Yarddog1 says:

    Can someone please point to a city with Black leadership that has not been either incompetent or rife with corruption? No – this is not a racist comment – simply an attempt to determine if there is such a city. I lived in Birmingham, Alabama once and just read an article where a prominent Black politician sold out for bribes and a Rolex. There are certainly many more example cities like this. Can the majority of these people just not function honestly and competently. I know there are principled Blacks – Rice / Thomas – but it seems that the percentage who fall to corruption is certainly proportinately high.

    • proreason says:

      Now Yarddog, you know Black political leaders are just doing what Whitey has been doing for centuries.

      It’s time they got their hands on the mechanisms of power so they can help out their own people.

      If that means that every city in the country is run into the ground and America becomes a third-rate country, so be it. We deserve it.

      Remember, 8 generations ago, your ancestors, or people your ancestors knew, or people who lived in the same country as your ancestors, or people who were the same color as your ancestors, had black slaves. And don’t tell me about the 600,000 people who died freeing the slaves either. That wasn’t enough. And don’t tell me abouat the hundreds of millions of people enslaved by other cultures either. That doesn’t have anything to do with it, even though our country was the only one to ever go to war to free slaves. And don’t tell me about the trillions of dollars wasted trying to educate Black people either. It’s not enough.

      What will be enough, is when the entire wealth of the country is handed over to the distinguished Black mayors of major cities, some of whom might be descended after 8 generations from slaves, and others, like Obamy who never had a slave ancestor, not that that has anything to do with it, so that they can live like 3rd world dictators. Like Reverend Al, and Jesse, and Farrakham, and Reverend Wright, and Nagrin, and the mayor of Detroit.

      Only then will we have social justice.

  9. Yarddog1 says:

    Thanks, Pro. I thought that was the reason, I just needed confirmation. Now I feel better already.


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