New Orleans corruption cases multiply - USATODAY.com
Federal statistics show that 171 people in the metropolitan area have been indicted on public corruption charges from 2003 through mid-September of this year, said Howard Schwartz, supervisory special agent for public corruption in the FBI's New Orleans' office. More than 80% were convicted or pleaded guilty to charges including bribery and fraud.
The upsurge in indictments is partly the result of corruption fueled by the enticement of billions of federal and state dollars flooding the region after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Schwartz said. Nationally, the number of pending public corruption cases has increased 49% since 2001.
Schwartz said the increased New Orleans numbers are mostly due to a bolstered federal crackdown, an aggressive public awareness campaign and more people offering tips on offenders.
The majority of those indicted were elected or appointed officials, ranging from police officers to a former school board president to city councilmen, Schwartz said.
Among the Indicted Are:
Joseph Impastato, former St. Tammany Parish councilman, was the first public official indicted after Hurricane Katrina. He was accused of taking kickbacks in exchange for steering contracts for post-Katrina debris removal. Impastato has maintained he is innocent of the extortion, conspiracy and money laundering charges against him.
Andrew Rose and Loyd Holliman, two Federal Emergency Management Agency employees, pleaded guilty to soliciting bribes while managing a FEMA base camp near New Orleans. They were sentenced in August to 21 months in federal prison.
Kerry DeCay, former New Orleans property management director, pleaded guilty in January to corruption charges in a multi-million-dollar energy contract scandal. He awaits sentencing.