NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell has been questioned by the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission after a letter sent Thursday alleges the mayor has been living in the Upper Pontalba, a city-owned building, for months.
The organization says Cantrell may have violated city policy and is asking the city council to get involved. Claiming it has substantial evidence that shows the mayor has been living in an apartment in the building, adding that the property is intended to be used by prominent visitors.
Take a look at the pictures below, sent to us by the MCC, that were taken over the last several months. The organization claims the mayor has been seen coming and going from the building, and that citizens have reported seeing mail addressed to the mayor at the apartment complex.
According to MCC, the mayor’s SUV has been spotted parked outside of the complex on multiple occasions, sometimes parked illegally. Sources also say a privacy screen has been placed on the balcony where the mayor is allegedly staying.
The MCC says this is a city-owned building that’s managed by the French market corporation. The MCC says the rent for the unit is nearly $3,000 dollars a month — and it’s unclear if the mayor has been paying the bill.
“This is probably more of an administrative abuse of power,” MCC president Rafael Goyeneche told WGNO’s Anna McAllister. “It demonstrates a continued pattern of a distorted sense of entitlement, by this mayor. That she is due more than the 180 plus thousand dollars in salary that she’s paid to be the mayor of the city of New Orleans.”
The MCC is asking the city council to investigate the claims and to take action if it’s determined the mayor is going against city policy.
WGNO reached out to the mayor’s office for comment on the matter. Here’s what Gregory Joseph, Director of Communications said:
“The Mayor’s usage of the city-owned apartment at the Pontabla remains consistent with the usage of past mayors. In addition, the most recent Franchise Agreement contains no rules governing how that unit should be used or operated. Lastly, according to the French Market Corporation — the owners of the Pontabla Building — Mayor Cantrell, along with past Mayors, are under no obligation to pay for using the apartment.”