NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – New rules could be on the way, determining who can stay at the city-owned Pontalba apartment that is at the mayor’s disposal.

It follows the inspector general’s report, questioning the legality of Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s use of the unit.

Currently, there are no rules on how the city’s apartment at the Upper Pontalba Building should be used, and it’s been that way for decades, but that soon may change.

During a meeting of the French Market Corporation, Executive Director Leslie Alley said the Pontalba building in the French Quarter, under the ownership of the City of New Orleans, underwent a major renovation in the late 1980s. 

“It appears to be in conjunction with that renovation when the unit in question was removed from the rent rolls, designated the mayor’s apartment, and never returned to any manager’s control,” Alley said.

Although the FMC manages the Upper Pontalba, Alley says they have never managed the apartment and neither has any other previous managers.

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“Further, it’s not for the manager of the remaining property to set the terms of use of the unit by the owner,” Alley said. “Thus, the French Market awaits instructions from the city regarding the continued and future use of the property.”

City council member Eugene Green, an FMB bord member, says implementing a policy is long overdue.

“I think that we recognize that there needs to be an expedited addressing of the use of the building and the use of the apartment certainly because it’s been subject to a lot of public scrutiny,” Green said.

Late last year, allegations were made that Mayor Cantrell was spending too much time at the apartment, which is why Inspector General Edward Michel recommended that the apartment be rented out.

“We recognize that the city needs to take advantage of every resource that we can,” Councilman Green said. “There could be potential uses that could be of benefit to the taxpayers, and we’ll look into that possibility, too. I just want to say that we’ll be open to the recommendation.”

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