Wisner funds to remain frozen as judge asks for paper trail of millions spent
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A civil court judge Wednesday (Sept. 28) handed the New Orleans City Council a win in its effort to get a handle on millions of dollars from the 108-year-old Wisner Trust fund.
Judge Kern Reese said that the 1914 trust was not properly modified and he ordered most funds being paid from it frozen until a full hearing is conducted.
The judge ruled against the attorney for the Wisner advisory board by granting the city council the right to challenge the way Wisner funds are being administered.
Judge Reese told the Wisner attorney to give him a full accounting on where around $10 million a year are being spent - money which the city council attorney says belongs to the city and was mostly unaccounted for.
“We’re very pleased with the ruling. It is the right ruling,” said Council attorney Judy Barrasso.
“We respected the judge’s ruling but will deal with it in court,” said Wisner board attorney Robert Redfearn.
Judge Reese said he intends to “rectify and clarify” how the Wisner millions are being spent because he says it was intended for the benefit of the City of New Orleans.
The Wisner advisory board is collecting a large amount of money from the BP oil spill which Reese says may be used to continue paying operating expenses.
The board administers royalties, rents, and payouts, from nearly 30,000 acres of land near Port Fourchon, which philanthropist Ed Wisner bequeathed to the City of New Orleans in a 1914 trust.
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