On Wednesday, Judge Cates ruled to allow attorney James Garner to continue to represent the Cantrell Administration in the case.
Ultimately, the judge sided with the city council, saying the city must hand over documents related to the Smart Cities program.
This all started with concerns about contract rigging over the initiative that was focused on expanding broadband access across the city.
The New Orleans Office of the Inspector General started its own investigation, and the city council subpoenaed the Mayor’s Office for documents related to the project.
The Mayor’s Office missed the deadline to turn those documents over, which led to Wedensday’s hearing.
Now, the city council says they plan to file contempt against several city employees, including the Mayor’s Chief of Staff. Councilman Joe Giarrusso says it all could’ve been avoided if the city complied.
“The Inspector General said that all of these documents should be produced, and the city attorney said they should be produced. So I don’t know why we had to go to court over arguing about something that is public records, where everybody said the council was owed,” said Giarrusso.
Garner says he plans to immediately appeal the judge’s decision. The mayor’s office issued a statement following the ruling, saying:
“Although Judge Sidney Cates’ ruling is regrettable, we respect the court’s decision,” Gregory Joseph, Director of Communications explained. “Our office will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of Inspector General’s inquiry and work with the City Council to satisfy their demands in a timely manner.”