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Ray Nagin indicted


(Times Picayune) A federal grand jury on Friday indicted former Mayor Ray Nagin with 21 counts of corruption, alleging that while in office, Nagin took cash bribes and gifts from three city contractors and used his power as mayor to leverage a granite installation contract from Home Depot as the retailer was building a store in Central City. Despite New Orleans’ reputation for political shenanigans, Nagin is the first mayor in the city’s history to be indicted by a grand jury on corruption charges.

Ironically, he was elected in 2002 largely on the strength of his promise to reform a City Hall that was widely perceived as a den of cronyism under Nagin’s predecessor, Marc Morial. His administration began with denunciations of municipal corruption and a crackdown on the beleaguered city’s Taxicab Bureau, including arrests of numerous cabbies — one of them the mayor’s cousin — and the head of that department.