Sunday, June 19, 2005

U.S. indicts four ...

Here is another take on the story we featured yesterday, this by Adam Nossiter of the Associated Press as it appeared in the Duluth Superior.

NEW ORLEANS - A businessman close to ex-mayor Marc Morial and the city's former top property manager have been indicted in a kickback scheme, part of an ongoing federal probe into municipal corruption here.

Businessman and restaurateur Stan "Pampy" Barre was charged Thursday with taking tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a city subcontractor, then sharing the money with Kerry De Cay, the director of property management under Morial.
Morial, now head of the New York City-based National Urban League, was not named in Thursday's indictment.

However, his administration, which ran the city from 1994 to 2002, has been under federal investigation for several years over its contracting practices. Other businessmen close to the ex-mayor are known to have received subpoenas, but Thursday's charges were the first major indictments in the continuing investigation.

An attorney for Barre, Jack Martzell, said he had not read the indictment and would have no comment. De Cay attorney Buddy Lemann told a television interviewer his client would fight the charges against him.

The new indictments center around a $65 million contract to upgrade chillers, boilers, lights and other energy-related fixtures in municipal buildings. De Cay oversaw the contract with Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee; Barre was hired as a subcontractor. The owner of a New Orleans restaurant popular with city power brokers during the Morial years, Barre also holds lucrative concessions at the New Orleans-governed Louis Armstrong International Airport just west of the city.

Federal officials say Barre did little or no work for Johnson, though he was paid thousands by them. They say another Johnson subcontractor, also indicted, "funneled" $546,000 to Barre, who then shared the money with De Cay and a Johnson official. The other subcontractor, Reginald Walker, also was indicted Thursday; the Johnson official was not.

The contract drew heavy criticism from Morial's successor, current Mayor Ray Nagin, soon after Nagin took office. Nagin has since canceled related deals with a number of subcontractors and renegotiated the maintenance contract with Johnson Controls, cutting payments by $200,000 a year. Nagin aides had complained that the original deal was full of noncompetitive contracts for Morial associates.

Money from the lucrative Johnson contract was spread around, according to the indictment - used to pay, for instance, for metal security doors at Barre's concession stands at the New Orleans Cultural Center.

Letten said the investigation was continuing and that it was his "fervent hope and belief" that other federal charges would be forthcoming "in the coming weeks."

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jbv's Competitive Edge 

2 Comments:

Blogger Schroeder said...

While New Orleanians can be glad about Letten's vigorous pursuit against corruption, he really deserves some scrutiny himself - although not for corruption. Instead, Letten harbors some pretty frightening right-wing tendencies (yes, even a queer Nazi fetish), and his true "fervent hope and belief" is that his US Attorney stint will be a springboard for a more powerful position where he can hurt, not just corrupt politicians, but average citizens.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Sidney said...

Stan Barre is scheduled to stand trial on January 16, 2007. Let's hope he gets convicted.

His son, Stan Barre, is also scheduled to stand trial. His trial is set for February 20, 2007. The court proceedings can be view at: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/cfapps/linx/calendar/GetCriminalCase.cfm?cause_num=06-1-03589-7

3:46 PM  

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