Frank Fradella to plead guilty to federal charges

Published: Jun. 20, 2012 at 12:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM CDT
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File photo of Frank Fradella
File photo of Frank Fradella

A key player in the federal grand jury investigation of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will plead guilty to federal charges.

A document unsealed this week shows businessman Frank Fradella will admit guilt.

Fradella has been on our radar for years. FOX 8 interviewed him back in 2010 on his construction company's questionable billings to the Orleans Parish School Board.

The federal government unsealed a document Tuesday, indicating Fradella will plead guilty to charges in federal court. The document is signed by Fradella and U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

The charges do not relate to that Orleans School Board story. We know some of the guilty plea involves a case in Dallas, where a grand jury indicted Fradella on securities fraud and insider trading relating to his former company, Home Solutions.

Randy Smith, Fradella's attorney, said he could not comment on all of the charges to which Fradella is pleading guilty.

That securities case has been transferred from Dallas to New Orleans. Fradella will now plead guilty in court here, instead of Dallas.

Our focus on Fradella did not start with that 2010 interview, though. We have also questioned his ties to former Mayor Nagin. When we requested Nagin's calendar in 2009, he tried to hide meetings with Fradella crossing them off the calendar he gave us. After we sued the city, we found out that Nagin in fact met with Fradella.

The Times-Picayune has also reported on Fradella. The newspaper says the local federal investigation into Fradella involves his relationship with Nagin and whether that relationship helped Nagin's countertop company, Stone Age, land work with Home Depot.

Fradella and former technology chief Greg Meffert are now cooperating with federal investigators. Both have significant ties to Nagin. And both are represented by Randy Smith, though Smith said that is merely a coincidence and that Meffert and Fradella do not know each other.

Now, both of Smith's clients could be the key parts to the federal investigation into the former mayor.