NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Nearly three weeks after the last Confederate-era monument was removed, the City still can't tell FOX 8 how much it spent to remove all four statues. But, we have uncovered some of the cost.
We've filed several public records request since May asking how much the City spent to remove the monuments including payments made to police, fire, EMS, and other city employees. But, we're told those figures are not available yet.
We've also made repeated requests for a list of all private donors who contributed to remove the monuments but the city and the non-profit fiduciary of those funds refused to give up that information.
"Look, I think the City has made it clear from the very beginning that they don't want the public to know how much money they're spending on removing these monuments, that's why they're running the funds through a non-profit that doesn't have to disclose its donors. While that's perfectly legal, it's just whether or not the people of the City of New Orleans are going to stand for their government basically saying that we're not going to tell you how much we've spent on this very controversial public issue," said media attorney, Scott Sternberg.
But, one new thing we've learned is how much it cost to remove and reinstall the St. Charles street car line as crews took down the Lee statue last month. The RTA says nearly $7,500 was spent on that.
That goes on top of the more-than $112,000 NOPD overtime bill. FOX 8 requested that information in May. But, the city only handed it over Wednesday night.
Public records show officers worked thousands of hours in O.T. as the city removed the Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Lee statues. But, keep in mind, that $112,000 doesn't include what officers were paid to patrol the Liberty Place statue removal or monument protests.
The City also points out the records do "not represent the overall total spent on NOPD overtime and regular pay for the removal of all four monuments."
"Should we know how much it cost? Yeah, I think we should," said Sternberg. "They have to keep track of how many hours their officers are working or firemen are working this is all the kind of stuff that they do as a government just like any employer would for their employees, I think not giving up this information is very questionable."
After repeated requests for the total expenditure to remove the monuments, the city told us they will provide full accounting in the coming days.