New Orleans Mayor

New Orleans City Council Votes To Evict Mayor From Apartment Amid Controversy

The mayor allegedly continued to use the apartment after the investigation by Fox 8 for personal reasons, such as allowing family members to stay in the unit during Essence Fest.

A dispute over New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s use of an apartment at the Pontalba Building appears to be heading toward a conclusion after the New Orleans City Council voted to allow the French Market Corporation to begin eviction if Mayor Cantrell’s office does not turn in the keys and remove personal belongings from a unit in the building by March 21. 

As BLACK ENTERPRISE previously reported, Cantrell has been under scrutiny for her liberal use of perks, such as first-class flights taken using taxpayer money.

Fox 8 reports that the disagreement has also drawn the interest of federal prosecutors after an investigation conducted by the outlet. After the investigation, the mayor allegedly continued to use the apartment for personal reasons, such as allowing family members to stay in the unit during Essence Fest. Council Vice President and the sponsor of the motion to evict Cantrell, J.P. Morell, told the outlet of his frustration. “This is a clarification of the law that we passed in August of last year, which states how the Pontalba is supposed to be used,” Morell concluded, “The council gave an inch, the mayor took a mile.”

As the Associated Press reports, Morell told the council on March 7 that the mayor has been skirting the law. “To date,” Morrell said, “whether by inactivity or willfulness, the mayor has refused to comply with the law.” Mayor Cantrell’s office, meanwhile, said in a statement on March 6 that the French Market Corporation had keys to the building but did not clarify whether Cantrell had given up keys to the building. According to the statement, eviction is unnecessary because there is officially no tenant at the apartment unit. “We hope that any reasonable person would recognize that initiating an eviction process is unreasonable when there is no tenant to evict.”

Other council members, such as Eugene Green, voiced concerns about the implications of targeting the mayor, particularly for citizens who hold property in the city. “The French Market Corporation has one shareholder: the mayor of the city of New Orleans. She makes every appointment to the French Market Corporation and we have to be careful that we don’t violate the laws that we attempt to uphold relative to other property owners.” 

Further complicating matters, the revenue generated by the Pontalba also generates income for the city, which it badly needs. According to Fox 8, the unit could generate up to $2,900 a month for the city if it were returned to commercial use, and Morell told the outlet that the entire situation had become a distraction. “This is a tremendous distraction, and it’s unfortunate that rather than allow us to work through this, the mayor chose to put us in this position.”

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