On at least three occasions in late 2007, one of them his wedding anniversary, Mayor Ray Nagin treated his wife to lunch at an upscale New Orleans restaurant and paid for it with a credit card billed to taxpayers, a review of Nagin's daily planner and billing statements shows.
From September 2007 through January 2008, Nagin charged 70 meals to taxpayers at a total cost of $6,628. In the vast majority of cases, there is no indication of who, if anyone, he was entertaining.
The same is true for charges on city-financed credit cards racked up by Nagin aides Ceeon Quiett, the mayor's communications director, and Kenya Smith, his director of intergovernmental affairs.
Though Nagin, Smith and Quiett accounted for nearly two-thirds of the about $180,000 charged to taxpayer-financed credit cards in a six-month period, they are the only city officials whose explanations for the charges were not in records released after a request from The Times-Picayune.
In a story on the credit cards published last month, Smith, who is essentially a lobbyist for the mayor, said his charges are attributable to his steady wooing of local, state and federal officials, as well as "a huge cross-section of stakeholders."
He said in a May 17 e-mail that the documentation supporting his expenses would answer any criticism of his spending. "You will be quite surprised to learn the names of the dinner invitees," he wrote.
Nearly a month later, the paperwork, if it exists, has not been made public. Smith, who announced Monday that he will resign from his post June 20 to pursue other ambitions, did not directly answer questions about the matter Wednesday.
From Nagin's 2007 State of the City address:
Everything that I have done and continue to do has been with a total focus on a full recovery and what is best for all the people of this great city.
I chose life and a growing city.
"Total focus" my ass! You didn't choose "life", you chose lunch!
Just as a patient must make adjustments to his lifestyle after a traumatic event or illness, so did we in New Orleans.---
Let me talk briefly about some other things that just had to be done to put us in position for full recovery.
With the virtual destruction of our economy, we were forced to make some major adjustments, such as the elimination of roughly half of our city's workforce.
This meant that these key citizens who had lost all their possessions would now also lose their source of income.
And those city workers who remained would be doing the jobs of two or three people.
Next, we streamlined and reorganized city government from top to bottom.
We followed through with the treatments and the patient has responded favorably, and others have taken notice.
Moody's has recently returned the city of New Orleans bond status from "junk" to "stable."
This vote of confidence from Wall Street recognizes our prudent fiscal management and signals that the city is open for business and that indeed new orleans is a good investment.
Update: The f*cking Mayor tips only 15%, on his anniversary, on the public dime, at Lilette!!