Zurik: New construction lien claims Mayor Cantrell owes $20,000 for unpaid roof repair bill
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A construction lien filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court claims New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and her husband failed to pay a contractor $20,000 for a new roof that was installed on their Broadmoor home in 2022.
Infinity Roofing and Siding is a national company that has an office in Metairie. In the Feb. 14 filing, the company claims it did storm restoration, roofing system repair and replacement work on Cantrell’s home. An invoice attached to the lien shows the roof work was part of an insurance claim.
The company claims it removed and replaced the Cantrells’ roof in September 2022. It claims the work cost more than $28,000, but that the Cantrells still haven’t settled their outstanding balance.
Tulane Law Professor Emeritus Joel Friedman says the allegations against Cantrell can be damaging for a public official.
“Certainly from an optics point of view, it’s not a plus … to find out that a public official is not paying their taxes or is not paying their private debts. That’s not a positive. Nobody would view that as an asset,” Friedman said.
He added that the company likely sought payment before filing the paperwork for the lien.
“The last thing that the company wants is to have to go through this process of getting a lien on her property. That’s the last thing that they want. They want their money,” Friedman said.
Because the filing is a lien, if the Cantrells don’t settle the bill, the company would likely not see any of the money unless the Cantrells sell the home.
“Well, normally, if you’re putting a lien on her property, that means if she sold that property, it’s like a mortgage, right?” Friedman said. “The lien holder would have to be paid out of the proceeds of the property, rather than that money going to the property owner if they sold it.”
This is not the first lien placed on the Cantrells’ property. In 2020, the federal government claimed the couple owed $95,000 in unpaid income taxes. Records show the Cantrells have been released from those liens, meaning they’ve reached a settlement with the IRS. However, it’s unclear how much of the $95,000 they’ve paid.
Friedman says the new lien raises questions about how Cantrell handles her finances.
“It does suggest a pattern of not paying attention to your financial obligations,” Friedman said. “And, again, this is not about government funds, it’s her own personal funds. But when you have the leader of a city who’s not paying attention to financial obligations on a personal level, what does that say about their attention level to the financial obligations and the monitoring of city funds that are subject to her control? It raises a question.”
Fox 8 reached out to Cantrell’s office, asking if she would like to comment or clarify anything about the lien, but received no response. Fox 8 also called the roofing company to ask about the unpaid bill, but no one returned our call.
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