A federal investigation into New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is heating up as some of her top political contributors have received subpoenas from a grand jury ordering them to testify on their potential involvement in or knowledge about lavish spending by the mayor on international travel as well as a steamy affair with a local police officer in violation of city ethics laws.
NOLA.com reports that authorities in recent months have questioned at least three businessmen who previously contributed to Cantrell’s political campaign and communicated with her directly. Attorneys for the three individuals claim they have done nothing wrong and that officials are simply inquiring about their knowledge of the mayor’s campaign fundraising activities.
Mayor Cantrell is already in hot water for a number of spending violations. In December, she footed taxpayers with a $26,230 bill for first-class travel to a climate change conference in Dubai, according to a local station 4WWL. The Democrat was already facing charges filed by the state Ethics Board that she abused $29,000 in public funds for similar affairs, forcing her campaign to reimburse the city.
Accompanying Cantrell on these junkets was NOPD officer Jeffrey Vappie who she claimed was brought on for “executive protection.” However, the FBI has been investigating Vappie – who was already facing a fraud investigation – for cohabitating with Mayor Cantrell at a city-owned apartment. Local media previously reported that Vappie’s wife claimed in court papers that he admitted to having an affair with a “Mrs. L.C.”
At a recent news conference, the embattled mayor insinuated racial animus by federal authorities and questioned whether a similar inquiry would be occurring if the city’s mayor were not a Black woman.
“As I’ve stated, you know, based on the false allegations that come my way, by the time I finish this job, literally, you know, accused of sleeping with half the city of New Orleans, both genders and all pronouns,” she said at a recent news conference.
“I do know that this seems to be kind of prevalent relative to black leadership ..and I think that I’m not exempt from that,” the mayor continued. “But relative to investigations, I’ve been in them. I’ve been through them, and and I’ll continue to comply however they come.”
“If I were a MAN you would NOT be texting me about this bulls***,” she texted a journalist, according to the Western Journal.