New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is under fire for spending more than $30,000 of taxpayer money to fly first class to Europe.
Meanwhile violent crime is surging in New Orleans.
Cantrell argued the first class flights were for her safety as a black woman and to protect her from Covid.
In a press conference last week, Mayor Cantrell said, “my travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury…. I need to be safe as I do business on behalf of the city of New Orleans.”
Cantrell’s security guards traveled to Europe in coach.
Cantrell also defended paying $776.78 for one night at the Pullman Hotel – a luxury hotel in Paris overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
“The hotel rooms are booked by travel agents, and I can’t tell you why, I would say because that, that’s what was available,” she said during the press conference.
The Democrat mayor also remained defiant and said she will not be reimbursing the thousands of dollars to the city for her travel upgrades.
At yesterday’s press conference, @FOX8NOLA was the only station that asked Mayor LaToya Cantrell about whether or not she will reimburse thousands of dollars to the city for her travel upgrades.
Here’s her full statement: pic.twitter.com/swA2flFIkc
— Andrés Fuentes (@news_fuentes) September 9, 2022
Fox News reported:
Mayor Cantrell’s politically costly sister city trips to the European cities of Ascona, Switzerland, and Juan Antibes-les-Pins on the French Riviera this past summer have also pushed some New Orleanians to support a recall. Her travels have cost the City of New Orleans close to $45,000, including first-class international airfare with lie-flat seating.
City of New Orleans official travel policy requires all employees to personally pay any difference in cost for work-related airfare upgrades, stating “employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available… employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy, or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost.”
Despite this, Cantrell has not paid the near $30,000 bill from her first-class international flight upgrades over the summer.
Cantrell spent $11,027.08 on her sister city trip to Ascona, Switzerland to coincide with the city’s annual jazz festival in June.
Her Swiss itinerary included a tentative one o’clock in the morning “jam session” and suggested the mayor is “free to return at any time” to the Hotel Eden Roc, with room rates ranging from $304 to $1,351 in mid-June. For her diplomatic work on behalf of New Orleans, three hours of afternoon rest appear to be required ahead of a photo call and “short brassband parade” of just 10 minutes’ duration.
She then jetted back to Europe once more. Mayor Cantrell’s following trip to France after Essence Fest was even more expensive than Switzerland: $19,654.37 were spent in only five days’ time in the French Riviera for Cantrell’s sister city trip to Juan Antibes-les-Pins in July. No official business was scheduled on-the-record before 10 am.
A petition to recall LaToya Cantrell is currently gaining traction.