First Signs of Trouble

After Monday’s blog post about CECI, one commenter responded:

When two days after the announcement you get a double barrel assault from both the IG and James Gill blasting the project as corrupt, there is no way even the pliant members of the city council will sign on.

For those who missed it,  this morning The Times-Picayune reported that Inspector General, Edouard Quatrevaux had doubts about the legitimacy of the selection process. Bruce Eggler wrote:

“There are things we have seen in it that could be evidence of bid-rigging, favoritism,” [Quatrevaux] said, referring to speculation that the city’s request for proposals was written to match the developers’ plans.

Then on the op-ed page, James Gill pressed the point:

Nagin plans to hand a couple of his cronies a contract to take over the Municipal Auditorium before he leaves office a few months hence. It’s only natural that a mayor should want to depart with a little flourish in the patronage department, but tradition demands a modicum of subtlety.

The deal will require the city council to approve a 50-year lease, and at Monday’s press conference, Mayor Nagin said he couldn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t. Still, when developer Stewart Juneau addressed the city council question, he tried to convey that the city council would be on board, Juneau didn’t actually say that it was. He made it was clear he was available to talk to councilpeople, and it sounded like he had spoken with Jackie Clarkson, but despite a bunch of words, he couldn’t assure the crowd that city council is on board.