Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin balks at feds’ request for faster restitution

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin is balking at a request from federal prosecutors that he increase monthly restitution payments more than five-fold to speed up repayment of $72,420 still owed to the Internal Revenue Service.

Government prosecutors last month asked U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo to increase the disgraced politician’s payment schedule from $500 to $2,700 monthly. They said an increase in income since Nagin, 66, reached retirement age and began drawing on a pension from Cox Communications justified the increase.

“Nagin’s current financial circumstances have materially improved since his 2014 sentencing and now support the payment of up to $2,700 monthly,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Mansfield wrote in the motion request.

A hearing on the motion had been scheduled for Wednesday (Oct. 19). But Nagin -- representing himself -- filed a response saying he was unable to attend because he is symptomatic and recovering from a COVID-19 infection contracted last week during a visit to New Orleans to see an ailing parent.

Nagin wrote in his opposition to the feds’ request that his financial situation is far from rosy. He claimed the government’s attempt to strong-arm him into a faster settlement on the balance of $84,264 in restitution ordered in 2014 was “excessive and unnecessary.”

Nagin wrote that he “is starting from scratch and basically living paycheck to paycheck” with his current bills and other obligations. He said he has been “financially supporting his recent college graduate daughter who has been unemployed while living out of state,” and has an elderly, hospitalized parent who will require his “ongoing financial support and long-term care after being released from the hospital.”

Nagin has been living in Dallas since his early release from federal prison on March 16, 2022. He was convicted in 2014 on 20 counts related to a bribery and tax fraud conspiracy involving city contractor bids, but wound up serving just over six years of his 10-year sentence.

Milazzo has not set a new hearing date or indicated when she will rule on the competing motions.

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