NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Attorneys with the waste management company, Metro Service Group, Inc., announced Thursday that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court, claiming that the filing could have been avoided had the Cantrell administration not violated provisions of its contract with the city.

The company says the filing was necessary in order to protect contractual and employee rights.

It comes after numerous service disruptions by Metro, which the company blamed on the administration’s refusal to adequately address the “emergencies” caused by an “excess tonnage” of trash during the pandemic and after Hurricane Ida.

Metro specifically blames Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s pandemic stay-at-home order for producing more residential garbage, and an excess of spoiled food after Hurricane Ida knocked out power to the city for days.

The company said it gave written recommendations on how the City could handle the residential pickup during the pandemic but said there was no response.

According to Metro’s press release announcing the bankruptcy filing, these are the issues the Cantrell administration failed to address:

  • Since 2017, Metro has collected garbage from 5000 homes, per month that Metro is not compensated for, although the City collects a monthly garbage fee from those same homes.
  • Failing to pay Metro for the excess tonnage that Metro has collected during the declared emergencies for the pandemic and Hurricane Ida.  Under its contract, Metro is to be paid an additional $250 per ton for each ton over 6,495 tons that it collects in its service area during a month.  Despite repeated requests from Metro to pay for the excess tonnage that it collected during the pandemic and after Hurricane Ida, the administration has failed to pay Metro for the work that it has done.
  • Metro believes that the administration has acted in bad faith by rebidding work that is under contract to Metro through March 31, 2024, and the cost to the taxpayers will be an additional approximately $8 Million dollars per year, which raises the question of why the taxpayers of New Orleans are going to be required to pay new contractors excessively more than what Metro has been receiving for the exact same work.

WGNO News reporter Anna McAllister asked Mayor Cantrell on Thursday about Metro’s announcement.

Cantrell replied, “I haven’t heard that yet.”

Metro said it will continue to collect waste in Lakeview, New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward and Gentilly, while the company’s case is in bankruptcy court.