New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
News desks around town yesterday were provided with public records documentation of New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell's use of a city-provided credit card
, which included personal and political expenses. The information came from allies of the campaign of Cantrell's opponent in the November mayoral runoff, Desiree Charbonnet.
Charges on that card, according to the records, were reimbursed by Cantrell months and sometimes years after they were made.
One major reimbursement check for almost 50 expenditures, drawn on the personal account of Cantrell and her husband, Jason Cantrell, was dated July 1, 2017 but received by the city's Fiscal Office on July 17, one day before Cantrell formally kicked off her mayoral campaign
. Five of the reimbursed items covered by that personal check stretched back to 2013, less than a year after she was elected to the council. The attached memorandum was dated July 14 and sent by Cantrell's chief of staff, John Pourciau.
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Louisiana law prohibits the use of public funds for personal expenses.
has sought comment from Cantrell, who is at the regular Thursday meeting of the New Orleans City Council today. Her campaign has not formally addressed the matter, though a spokesman told The New Orleans Advocate
yesterday that the charges were “occasional and inadvertent errors and they were picked up during the reconciliation process and remedied," demonstrating Cantrell's commitment to accountability with public funds.
According to her most recent statement of income filed with the Louisiana Board of Ethics
, Cantrell draws an annual salary of $91,923 as District B City Councilwoman.
The Charbonnet campaign already has created an ad claiming Cantrell used city money as "her personal piggy bank for lavish personal expenses."