Pay Back NOLA For Outrageous Travel Costs? With What?

Yesterday Fox 8 in New Orleans had a story on the fact that the city’s mayor LaToya Cantrell, busted by the local media for a rather regal expense bill from her recent globetrotting excursions, says she has no plans to reimburse the city for some $30,000 in costs which don’t quite pass the smell test.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she does not plan to pay the city back for first-class travel upgrades on overseas flights, despite policies put in place by the city council.

The policy states all traveling city employees are required to seek the lowest fares available or reimburse the city for deluxe accommodations.

The Chief Administrative Officer says the law department is still reviewing whether or not the mayor needs to reimburse nearly $30,000 in taxpayer money.

At a press conference Thursday (Sept. 8), Mayor Cantrell says the trips and expenses were made in order to better New Orleans.

“All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,” Mayor Cantrell said outside of the Nix Library. “One thing is clear; I do my job and I will continue to do it with distinction and integrity every step of the way.”

Dillard University public policy professor Robert Collins says it appears the mayor is being defiant.

The mayor’s staff says they are working to determine if the policy applies to the mayor, as she is an elected official and not a hired city employee.

“I think that’s still under review with law kind of determining the variations between the CAO policy, the elected official policy, and the different variations,” CAO Gilbert Montaño said. “There’s no ultimate conclusion at this current moment. Right now it’s in law, and we are evaluating it and I think there would be a determination sooner rather than later.”

The mayor’s first-class tickets to France and Switzerland cost the city nearly $30,000. Cantrell has previously said that her travel upgrades were not for luxury purposes but for matters of safety.

There’s something missing in this report, though perhaps Fox 8 didn’t want to be rude in pointing it out. We’re not squeamish, so we will.

Which is that LaToya Cantrell isn’t going to pay back that 30 grand because she doesn’t have it.

This woman is a community organizer who’s in the midst of breaking up her marriage. Her finances have always been a mess, which is why she got herself in trouble with her New Orleans City Council credit card before she was mayor, running up several thousand dollars’ worth of debt, and it’s why she had a huge unpaid tax bill which might have disqualified her from running for re-election until she magically came up with the money to pay it off.

And you think she has $30,000 that she can stroke a check to pay for first-class flights to Europe?

Ain’t no blood in that turnip.

That she couldn’t reimburse the city for those cost overages makes her running them up all the more obnoxious, but this is LaToya Cantrell we’re talking about. Obnoxious is her first, last and middle name.

But the people of New Orleans knew this when she was on the city council and they still made her mayor. And then they made her mayor for a second term. So it’s a reasonable assumption that they’re perfectly fine with getting fleeced by her for first-class flights to France and Switzerland.

Or if not, maybe they’ll recall her. We’ll see.

Either way, that $30,000 is gone. Vanished. You’ll never see that money again.

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