New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (Photo by Greg LaRose)
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell faces state ethics charges for upgrading her airline tickets for first-class seats at the expense of taxpayers over a two-year period. State law prohibits elected officials from receiving anything of value, and city travel policy requires the mayor to seek the lowest-priced fares.
The upgrades were made for 13 domestic flights and two international flights and totaled almost $29,000 according to the Louisiana Board of Ethics. Under pressure of having her pay docked by the New Orleans City Council, Cantrell abandoned her original refusal to reimburse the city.
Cantrell first said she needed first-class accommodations to limit her exposure to COVID-19 and later said it was a matter of “safety, not luxury,” according to WVUE-TV Fox 8.
“Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world Black women walk in,” Cantrell previously said in a statement.
The ethics board will next set a date to hear the charges against Cantrell. She faces an official censure and a possible fine that could reach $10,000.
Gov.-elect Jeff Landry faced a similar charge for accepting a flight to Hawaii from a prominent campaign donor.
Cantrell is currently traveling to Kenya, where she was invited to speak to a United Nations conference on plastics pollution.
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