Council to consider contempt charges against Cantrell administration amid ‘Smart Cities’ investigation

Mayor LaToya Cantrell
Mayor LaToya Cantrell(WVUE)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 4:12 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The fight between the New Orleans City Council and Mayor LaToya Cantrell has taken another turn.

A civil court judge ruled Wednesday that Cantrell’s administration must comply with the council’s subpoenas issued in connection with the “Smart Cities” project.

The City Council recently asked the I.G.’s office to investigate how Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration negotiated a citywide wifi contract to provide internet to low-income neighborhoods. The multimillion-dollar project was also pitched as a way to create a private, “city directed” internet provider to compete with Cox and AT&T. It also called for the installation of thousands of “smart city” devices, like street lights and traffic signals, which could collect data to improve city services and be sold for profit.

“Although Judge Sidney Cates’ ruling is regrettable, we respect the court’s decision,” said Gregory Joseph, Director of Communications for the mayor’s office. “Our office will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of Inspector General’s inquiry and work with the City Council to satisfy their demands in a timely manner.”

More: City Hall computer seized amid ‘Smart Cities’ investigation

The city sued the council to keep those records from the public.

On Thursday, the council will consider formal contempt of council charges for the city employees not cooperating.

The mayor’s office has called the investigation “dirty politics.” Cantrell says the council is disrupting her administration and costing the city millions.

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