The city workers, contractors and whoever was supposed to oversee the New Orleans Affordable Housing, Inc. (NOAH) should be brought up on state and federal charges for fraud, embezzlement, racketeering, by virtue of that - RICO, money laundering and obstruction of justice.. Luckily, investigations are ongoing from the FBI, HUD and the Inspector General's office, but "paying back the money" is not enough.
Not near enough. Punitive damages should be severe, and all New Orleanians - all taxpayers should demand it. Send them all the way to Leavenworth, and let them never have King Cake again.
Because this is far, far more damaging to the city of New Orleans, non-profit organizations, race relations here and nationwide, than a few hundred thousand dollars. This could be the smoking gun.
One of the few things that has worked in this city's recovery are the volunteers who have come from all over this nation to help rebuild this city. Another one of those things is how many citizens came back and spent all their free time rebuilding a life here. Now we learn that their efforts, their hard labor in the Gulf Coast heat, in the moldy houses, on the bombed out streets, was used by local "businesspeople" and "government" to line personal pockets with cash. Cash that is desperately needed for the recovery of this city, that people had to fight to convince the taxpayers to buy into.
They wanted to bulldoze this place. They wanted to bulldoze this place. They wanted to bulldoze this place. They wanted to take away everything New Orleanian about New Orleans. But people responded. People here and every volunteer that gave their time turned back that tide to prove the bulldozers wrong.
And now these despicable local contractors and folks inside our own City Hall have given the bulldozers, the right to stand up and say "we told you so, that's the New Orleans we were talking about."
A message must be sent. I want the money back, I want those responsible to go to prison, and I want a pound of flesh for every. single. dollar. And I want it done publicly, so the world can see it won't be tolerated anymore.