Former New Orleans Mayor and Cox Communications executive C. Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from city contractors during the years he led The Crescent City.
Nagin was convicted in February in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on 20 of 21 counts that he accepted bribes, free trips, gratuities and free granite for his family’s business in exchange for promoting the interests of a local businessman. Nagin, who also must pay $82,000 in restitution, maintained his innocence throughout the trial, according to reports.
According to the New York Times, prosecutors were pushing for a heavier sentence – 15 years – but U.S. District Court Judge Helen G. Berrigan said that Nagin received a far smaller share of profits from the scheme compared to other members of the group. According to the January indictment, Nagin received $200,000 in cash, trips to Hawaii and Jamaica and “truckloads” of granite for his family’s granite-countertop business. In return, contractors received about $5 million in city business.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Judge Berrigan recommended that Nagin be held at Oakdale minimum security prison in Oakdale, La. He is scheduled to report on Sept. 8 and will be free on bond until then.
Nagin was elected mayor of New Orleans in 2002 as a reformer and former businessman, succeeding Marc Morial. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association held its annual convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in the city that year.
Nagin led the Crescent City during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster and was widely criticized for his performance during that crisis. He left office in 2010 after his term was up.
Nagin began his career in Cox Communications accounting department in 1985. He was transferred to Cox’s New Orleans system in 1989, working his way up to manager.
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