Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Lee Zurik has done a little googling himself.

It would appear that S & A Construction's Cedric Smith is Ray Nagin's brother-in-law. Cedric Smith delivered a speech on behalf of the Mayor at Mr. Nagin's 2nd inauguration.

Watch Mr. Zurik's report here. Watch the complete video of Mr. Zurik's interview with Mayor Nagin here.

Mayor Nagin's assertion that the list his own administration provided to Mr. Zurik and also to me, per my records request of NOAH, is not the correct list is pathetic. His attitude toward Mr. Zurik's line of questioning is childish and unbecoming of the office he's sworn to uphold.

"If there are problems, we'll clear 'em up."

When were you planning on doing that, Mr. Mayor? Were you planning on doing it before Mr. Zurik's 'totally unfair' reporting brought it to your attention?

I've never seen this Mayor look so nervous and uncomfortable. Where in the past, Mr. Nagin deflected the important questions of reporters with a bemused smile, now the Mayor has been reduced to arguing linguistic specifics with an 'it ain't my job' defensiveness.

Mr. Zurik says "I'm using the list that you gave me last week."

So Nagin interrupts and says "I didn't give you anything," as if attempting to claim innocence because he himself did not physically hand the list to Mr. Zurik. I won't insult your intelligence by explaining how ridiculous that is. Clearly Mayor Nagin takes no responsibility for the actions of his own staff.

Also, Mr. Nagin brought up the inaccurate lists that included a home owned by indicted Congressman William Jefferson's non profit, New Orleans Metropolitan Housing. Karen Gadbois reported on that here. He or his administration (because there's a big difference) claim that no services were provided and no contractors were paid for work done on that property.

Right now, I can verify that NOAH did issue a task order to General Contracting Inc and Dwight Richard that included 2225-27 Willow St.

I viewed this document at NOAH's offices on Tuesday. I can not concretely demonstrate that Mr. Richard was paid for work done on that specific property, I did not immediately see a check number. However, it is certainly interesting that a NOAH document required a contractor to work on a building owned by Congressman Jefferson's non profit.


Additionally, the Times-Picayune's failure to report on the NOAH scandal has gone on long enough. At first, I was willing to believe that the paper was holding back in order to prepare a substantive contribution that would allow them not to regurgitate the reports of Mr. Zurik and the blogosphere.

However, the time for that has come and gone. That there was no piece in today's paper is glaring embarrassment for the Times-Picayune.

The FBI, Inspector General, and HUD are all now looking into corruption within Mayor Nagin's administration. It's not just some obscure blog post that they're dismissing, it's a probe with the potential to alter the operation of government. They are failing to provide their readers with an obviously relevant news story and I'd like to know why.


The Times-Picayune has caved to the demands of We Could Be Famous fans everywhere and written a substantive and interesting article about the NOAH scandal.


I am opening up an investigation into whether or not there are problems and if there are, I'll fix 'em.


Civitch said...

At long last, the TP has decided to forgo childish rivalries and cover what could be the biggest local story since the storm itself:

And I think it's important (and FUN!) to watch Lee Zurik's full interview with Ray Ray, just so that readers of this blog can feel the full force of our mayor's descent into desperate bizarro world.

jeffrey said...

I've never seen this Mayor look so nervous and uncomfortable. Where in the past, Mr. Nagin deflected the important questions of reporters with a bemused smile, now the Mayor has been reduced to arguing linguistic specifics with an 'it ain't my job' defensiveness.

Sorry but this is just an inaccurate description. There is nothing different about the way the Mayor conducts himself in this situation from the way he has always done beginning the DAY HE TOOK OFFICE.
(There is a common myth around town that the flood somehow "changed" Nagin. This is an utterly stupid myth perpetrated by Chris Rose and people even stupider than Chris Rose) He has been exactly this smug and exactly this phony since he showed up on the scene.

The only thing that is different here is he's dealing with a reporter who actually does his homework and who he can't intimidate.

The man has always been a joke. It's the local press that has been lacking. The T-P has been slow to react because they heavily invested themselves in the "Nagin-the-reformer-businessman" mythology in 2002 and never got over that.

Zurik did make one mistake in giving the Mayor an opening to use the "oh you think this is humorous?" line.

I think Nagin will play this "they're out to get me" strategy and I expect he will be largely successful with it. The Foolishness has only just begun to be Feeded up.

bayoustjohndavid said...

I largely agree with Jeffrey, but try to resist the urge of making fun of somebody for making a typo when creating a logon id.

I thought hiring Smith as a campaign consultant would give the lie to Nagin's supposed surprise and embarrassment over Smith's RTS antics, but it didn't.

bayoustjohndavid said...

I intentionally made the grammatical error just to show how easy it is to mess up a comment, BTW.

E said...

Jeffrey, I'm not saying that Nagin was ever different himself in the past. Maybe the phrasing there was unclear but I was trying to illustrate the gravity of the NOAH story and of Lee Zurik's questioning in the context of Nagin's relationship with the media and his luck in avoiding accountability in the past.

jeffrey said...

I'm not trying to pick on the typo exactly so much as I've decided that "Feed up the foolishness" is a pretty cool term to use in place of "escalating the political theater"

E said...

Nobody's got anything nice to say about the post title?

We need to totally recast the evaluation system.

jeffrey said...

The title doesn't work for two reasons. 1) Apart from the repeated "listing" there is nothing particularly nautical of note in this story.

2) No one involved is going "gently down" anything.

E said...

Jeffrey if you're going to be the foremost judge of NOAH post title relevance, I think you're going to have to retire yourself from participating in the competition.

Look, I'll give you a week to look for problems. If you find any, you'll fix them.

Though I suppose you're right about this particular title. If I had weaved a nautical theme into the narrative, would I have had a winner? I should have been more methodical about releasing that title. Damn.

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