Sunday, August 07, 2005

Morial legacy at stake ...

The charges are beginning to pile up in the ongoing investigation of the administration of former mayor Marc Morial. Morial’s uncle, Glenn Haydel, was indicted on Friday on charges that he embezzled $350,000 in public funds under contracts he had to run the city's public transportation system.

At a news conference Friday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said rooting out corrupt officials who take bribes and demand kickbacks is the best way to revitalize a city shunned by businesses that want no part in having to deal with corruption. He defined corruption in New Orleans and Louisiana. as "endemic."

Local pundits are beginning to project the impact that these finding will have on the legacy of Marc’s tenure in office. Morial has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but federal authorities have broken open several “deals” agreed to in Marc’s administration that were not in the best interests of New Orleans taxpayers.

Marc served two terms as mayor and now heads the National Urban League, a powerful and venerated black organization based in New York City. The formerly ever-present Marc has been unavailable for comment for some time now.

In a recent Times-Picayune article, Frank Donze and Bruce Eggler took on the rumors suggesting that former Mayor Marc Morial's two-year tenure as president of the New York City-based National Urban League might soon be over. The rumor has only reached print in one source, a rather obscure newspaper, but now that it has been reported Urban League officials can be called on to address the issue.

Michael Critelli, chairman of the Urban League's National Board of Trustees, issued a statement giving Morial an unqualified vote of confidence. Morial spokeswoman Michele Moore insists that it's all a baseless rumor that has taken on a life of its own, and she has threatened legal action against reporters who repeat the rumor or seek to verify it by calling Urban League board members.

Since when is seeking to verify a rumor an offense worth of legal action? The T-P writers expand on Moore’s methods:

“The only thing more virulent than the rumor seems to be Moore's reaction to inquiries about it. In an e-mail to publisher Cedric Muhammad, Moore demanded an immediate retraction and threatened legal action "for slander, defamation of character and libel."

Treated to a similar blast of invective last week, an Associated Press reporter advised Moore that the vehemence of her reaction convinced him he must be on to something.“


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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