By Russ Warner, VP Marketing –
Former Cox Communications executive Ray Nagin has never been involved in politics, but he was elected mayor of New Orleans in 2002 on a platform to end public corruption.
Ironically, four years after he ended his term in office, Nagin was sentenced recently to serve 10 years in a federal prison on 20 counts of corruption — specifically participating in a bribery conspiracy scheme that amounted to $500,000 in money laundering, wire fraud and false tax returns while he was the mayor. In addition, he’ll be required to pay more than $80,000 to the IRS for restitution.
Actions Called “Inexcusable”
Helen Berrigan, U.S. District Judge, called Nagin’s actions inexcusable but lowered his sentence to 10 years on account of his reputation as a family man and because of his good deeds as mayor. Others were not so forgiving. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Coman wanted a tougher sentence and public resident Donald Scherer called it a “rip off,” labeling Nagin’s actions “as bad as you can get.”
Perhaps one reason people are less forgiving is because Mr. Nagin’s exploitation occurred during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. City residents needed help, and while Nagin pleaded with the country and federal government on television to assist them, he acted selfishly.
Should government officials in positions of pubic trust be required to submit to ongoing lie detection testing? In Ray Nagin’s case, it would have been better to watch what he did rather than what he said.