NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans City Council has voted to hold two members of Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s staff in contempt.
It comes just one day after the mayor’s administration took the council to court requesting an injunction againt their subpoenas of the Mayor’s Chief of Staff Cliff Davis and Head of Intergovernmental Affairs Art Walton.
The judge ultimately ruled in favor of the City Council, saying the documents must be handed over.
“We need to send a message when the council and its roll seeks information, you need to produce it,” said Council Member Joe Giarrusso.
It all stems from the Smart Cities initiative which would’ve expanded broadband access across the city. That deal is now off the table after concerns of contract rigging.
The City Council now wants documentse from the mayor’s office as their investigation continues, but it hasn’t been so easy.
“These are public records created by public officials involving public matters,” said Giarrusso. “Why shouldn’t they be given over to us? We shouldn’t have to go to court to fight about this.”
During public comment community members applauded the Council’s efforts.
The mayor’s office released this statement:
“The council could have used a more straightforward and accurate procedure by simply submitting a public records request for the administration to turn over executive branch documentation.”
What the Council has now done is directed the city attorney to move forward with charges of contempt of council.
That is, unless she recuses. Then it would be up to the District Attorney to move forward with the proceedings.
Giarrusso says he expects the Council will get their hands on the documents in the coming weeks.