Sidney Torres claims ‘dirty politics’ in Mayor’s race

July 12, 2017 | Updated: 11:56 p.m., July 12, 2017

Sidney Torres

NEW ORLEANS — In an exclusive interview with WGNO on Tuesday night, businessman and CNBC-TV star Sidney Torres IV said he’s seriously considering making the leap from millionaire investor to Mayor of New Orleans.

But on Wednesday night, Torres posted a statement on his Facebook page, saying that he’s already the victim of “dirty politics.”

Torres told WGNO that he “grew up in a political family” (some of his relatives have been public officials in St. Bernard Parish) and he said he had seen “how (politics) work– the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

It’s the “ugly” that Torres says he’s seeing now– even before he’s made his decision.

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Torres says he’s hired a “strategist” and assembled a team to run his potential mayoral campaign.  Yet he’s also assembled a second team — to help him craft an announcement that he will not be running.

And he insists that he is sitting on the fence, exploring every possible pro and con of a decision that could be a “life-changer.”

But Torres posted on his Facebook page that “political operatives” had received leaked information about what Torres might be planning to do if he decides not to run.  His statement is below:

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“It is disappointing that I am compelled to address dirty politics before I have even made a decision on whether or not to become a candidate for Mayor of New Orleans. I completed producing two commercials to send strictly to local televison stations only to be held as placeholders.  One that indicated that I would be a candidate for Mayor, and another stated that I would not but would instead fund a political action committee to hold candidates accountable to voters.  Suspiciously, the one indicating that I would not run was leaked to political operatives.  While that may be some politician’s or power-broker’s hope, I have not made a final decision ,and as I have noted all along, will not make a final decision until Friday.  I hope this clears any confusion.”

Running for mayor — and winning —  could mean four years of wading through arcane city regulations, mind-boggling bureaucratic red tape, and dicey political squabbles, all while making decisions that a fickle public might, or might not, appreciate.

But in a sense, Torres’ experience in the private sector up to this point may have made him just the right candidate for public service —  at just the right time.

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Some of his accomplishments (real estate renovator, Bahamian resort developer and owner, investment capitalist, CNBC reality TV star) have given him wealth and fame. But two of his successes in particular have endeared him to many New Orleanians:  “IV Waste,” the trash collection company that cleaned up the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina, and the “French Quarter Task Force,” which adds manpower and high-tech equipment to help an understaffed NOPD fight crime in the Quarter.

In the last couple of years, Torres has emerged on the public scene as a man of the people who gets things done.

“Some people have plans,” he says, “I execute. That’s my deal.”

And he’s confident.  Torres says political polling shows it’s “obvious that (he’d) make the runoff” in a potential mayoral race if he decides to run.

Torres says he’s talking almost minute-by-minute to dozens of friends and election experts, both local and national, weighing the merits of a run, but he says he won’t make up his mind until sometime on Friday, the last day of the mayoral qualifying period.

He says three parts of his psyche must be in agreement on that decision.  His “heart and mind” are telling him to go for it,  but his “gut” –right now–  says maybe.

On Wednesday, (July 12), three well-known politicians officially qualified for the race:  City Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, former Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris, and former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet.