- Waller deemed competent to stand trial (1/11/17)5
- Young Elvis impersonator from Bernie performs on 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' (1/12/17)
- 113 drug tests at Jackson High net one instance of illicit usage (1/11/17)14
- Two subjects of interest in 1992 homicide to take polygraph tests (1/15/17)5
- Two men shot after argument; houses also struck by bullets (1/12/17)21
- Imo's Pizza will be added to Rhodes 101 convenience store in Jackson (1/10/17)16
- Cape SportsPlex contractor offers a look at the project (1/15/17)8
- Juvenile accused of stealing, damaging playground statue (1/9/17)25
- Two Cape men recovering after shooting (1/13/17)
- Business notebook: Faithfully Fed aims for more than just food (1/9/17)4
New Orleans mayor cracks down on graft
NEW ORLEANS -- Police began arresting more than 80 people in a bribery investigation of the city's auto inspection and taxi-licensing agencies Monday as the new mayor opened a crackdown on graft in the Big Easy.
The auto inspection agency, including its three inspection stations, was shut down by the roundup that began before dawn, and authorities said they expected all 20 employees to be implicated. Two city officials were fired and one of them was among the 84 people named in arrest warrants.
By early afternoon, 30 had been arrested.
Authorities said city employees took bribes to hand out taxi permits to illegal immigrants and to overlook automobile safety violations.
Police said one of the inspectors, a nine-year veteran, told investigators that "she was trained to do it that way."
Mayor Ray Nagin said the investigation will probably reach other agencies and more arrests could be coming. The mayor, who began the job in May, said there is "hard evidence" that previous administrations knew of corruption and did nothing.
"It is very clear that this type of behavior has been going on for many, many years," Nagin said.
Reputation for excess
The city has long had a reputation as a place of excess -- from food and drink to prostitution to graft. Federal prosecutors even now are investigating the relationship of bail bond companies with judges in suburban New Orleans.
Nagin's predecessor, two-term Mayor Marc Morial, was credited with cleaning up corruption and brutality on the police department. Former chief Richard Pennington, who recently took the top police job in Atlanta, presided over indictments, firings and disciplinary actions against more than 350 officers.
Nagin, a former cable TV executive, said his administration is examining contracts signed in the last days of Morial's administration and the spending of federal funds. He said previous administrations had ignored problems.