Former city attorney won't comment about Lee Zurik Investigation - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Former city attorney won't comment about Lee Zurik Investigation

New Orleans, La. - A former deputy city attorney told the Times-Picayune he has no comment on a FOX 8 News story from last night. Bob Ellis is under investigation for his dealings with businessman Aaron Bennett.

Last night, FOX 8 reported Bennett gave them information on Ellis while in meetings with the government.

FOX 8, the Times-Picayune, and blogger American Zombie have all reported on Ellis.

"I'm riding today, so I can't talk," he told the Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell.

Russell asked if he would get a call back tomorrow, Ellis replied: "No, probably not."

When Ellis served as deputy city attorney for former Mayor Ray Nagin, Ellis handled a lawsuit for the city against Aaron Bennett's company, Benetech. Two months after the city and Ellis settled that lawsuit, Benetech and Bennett hired Ellis' company, Opus Consulting. In one year, Benetech paid Opus Consulting about $35,000.

The Times-Picayune reported last year that Ellis contacted Ralph Thayer, from the city's recovery office, to see what he could do to get Benetech paid.

Thayer told the Times-Picayune Ellis made a personal appeal for Benetech.

A source close to the Nagin federal investigation says one aspect of the probe involves trips Nagin took to Hawaii and Jamaica. Those trips were funded by former city vendor Mark St. Pierre and his company NetMethods.

In 2009, Nagin said he thought his former technology chief, Greg Meffert, paid for the trips. Acting as deputy city attorney, Ellis reiterated the Mayor's story during a 2009 interview.

"The mayor when he went to Hawaii and accepted that trip, he accepted that trip from Greg Meffert," Ellis said in a 2009 interview with FOX 8. "He did not know that NetMethods paid for it."

While Ellis answered the Times-Picayune's phone call, he did not pick-up several calls by FOX 8 last week.
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