A Non-Comprehensive List of Mayors Indicted for Corruption

A federal grand jury has indicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who faces 21 counts of corruption and joins a long list of indicted mayors caught abusing their power.

Fomer New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Credit: Derek Bridges from Flickr

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A grand jury indicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin last week. Nagin, charged with accepting bribes in exchange for city contracts, faces 21 counts of corruption ranging from bribery to money laundering.

Nagin served as mayor of New Orleans from 2002-2010. He gained notoriety for his strong rhetoric and weaker leadership following Hurricane Katrina.

The indictment comes as part of a larger investigation into corruption in City Hall that resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials as well as two business leaders.

Although New Orleans has a history of political corruption, this is the first time a former mayor of the city has been indicted. Nagin joins an eclectic list of current and former mayors of other U.S. cities that haven’t been as fortunate.

Other mayors caught with a hand in the cookie jar:

  • Tony Mack: The first-term mayor of Trenton, N. J. was indicted last month for attempting to extort bribes for a dummy parking garage project set up by the FBI. Most recently, he made headlines when his administration debuted a privately funded bronze bust of President Obama that was later revealed to have been purchased partially with public funds and made of paint and resin.
  • Sharpe James: The former Newark, N.J. mayor was indicted on 33 counts, including using city-issued credit cards to fund trips and entertainment for himself and eight female companions. The veteran politician — James served five terms as mayor—gained a reputation for his sense of showmanship, demonstrated by stunts such as arriving at his birthday party on skis over a bed of artificial snow.
  • Vincent “Buddy” Cianci: Having served as mayor of Providence, R.I. from 1974-1984 and again from 1991-2002, Cianci was indicted on 12 federal counts including racketeering and extortion. His first resignation came after pleading guilty to assaulting a contractor with a fireplace log, an ashtray and a lit cigarette. (He suspected the contractor was having an affair with his wife.) Cianci returned home from prison in 2007 without his signature hairpiece, apparently having come to term with his pattern baldness.
  • Greg Davis: The alleged gas-stealing Southaven, Miss. mayor was indicted last month on three counts including embezzlement, false pretense and making fraudulent statements. Davis most notably used city funds to routinely fill the gas tank of car for personal use.
  • Sheila Dixon: The former Baltimore mayor was indicted for stealing gift cards intended for needy families and failing to report gifts given to her by a local developer and former boyfriend.
  • Felix Roque: The West New York, N.J. mayor was indicted over the summer for cyber crimes. Roque and his son are accused of hacking into the website of a political rival.
  • Marion Barry: The former Washington, D.C. mayor was indicted on cocaine and perjury charges. Despite Barry’s high-profile indictment and incarceration, he was later reelected as mayor and now serves on the D.C. City Council.
  • John Pomierski: The former mayor of Upland, Calif. was indicted for extorting money from a nightclub and marijuana cooperative in exchange for city permits. Pomierski was sentenced to prison for two years.

Other big-city mayors like former Chicago’s Richard Daley and Washington, D.C.‘s Vincent Gray have been linked to corruption, though both men have avoided indictments.

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Tags: new orleansmayorshurricane katrinavincent grayrichard daleymarion barry

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