AP - Ray Nagin, a Democrat who was mayor when Hurricane Katrina stuck in 2005, served two terms before leaving office in 2010. He was living in a Dallas suburb when a federal grand jury indicted him a year ago. He faces charges of accepting bribes and free trips among other things from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work.
Each bribery count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each wire fraud count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The charges are the product of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in several convictions or guilty pleas by former Nagin associates.
Nagin's 21-count indictment accuses him of accepting more than $160,000 in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of local businessman Frank Fradella. Nagin also was charged with accepting at least $60,000 in payoffs from another businessman, Rodney Williams, for his help in securing city contracts.
The indictment claims Nagin received free private jet and limousine services to New York from an unidentified businessman who owned a New Orleans movie theater. Nagin allegedly agreed to waive tax penalties the businessman owed to the city on a delinquent tax bill in 2006.
A political novice before he was first elected mayor in 2002, Nagin became a national figure after broken levees flooded most of the city in Katrina's aftermath. Known for his occasionally cringe-inducing rhetoric, Nagin famously declared in 2006 that the slowly repopulating city would be "chocolate" again, playing to black residents' fears that they would get short shrift during the recovery process."It is beyond the thinking of a lot of people in this part of the country as to how this douche bag dodged charges of manslaughter in the deaths of the many poor New Orleans citizen he abandoned and left the city for safety as Hurricane Katrina bore down on the city.