Nov 9, 2023 - News

Mayor Cantrell charged with ethics violations for first-class flight upgrades

Photo illustration of LaToya Cantrell with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Kaitlyn Morris/Getty Images

Mayor LaToya Cantrell is facing state ethics charges after the Louisiana Board of Ethics says she improperly billed the city for 15 first-class flight upgrades.

Why it matters: The charges are a sharp rebuke to the mayor, who has previously said the flight upgrades were essential for her safety as a Black woman and because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Between the lines: Cantrell currently is on a weeklong trip to Kenya to represent New Orleans at a United Nations meeting about plastic pollution.

  • Her spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding the charges, which were emailed to the mayor Oct. 20. See the full document.

Zoom in: The board said Cantrell flew first class at the city's expense on 15 domestic and international flights between Feb. 11, 2021, and Aug. 23, 2022.

  • Destinations included Italy, France, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to documents obtained by Axios.
  • The rates were higher than permitted by the city's travel policy, the documents say, and she did not timely reimburse the city for the amount of the higher fare.
  • The cost difference in flight grades was $28,856.99, the board said. Cantrell reimbursed the city in full on Oct. 28, 2022.

Yes, but: The board said Cantrell violated the law because she wasn't entitled to received the upgrades. NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune first reported on the charges Thursday.

What's next: The Ethics Adjudicatory Board may choose to censure Cantrell and fine her up to $10,000.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This is a breaking news story. Check back for further updates.

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