The New Orleans inspector general’s office sparked a possible criminal investigation, reporting that the city overpaid underperforming contractors by $4 million for a network of crime cameras, half of which didn’t work, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The scathing report alleges Mayor Ray Nagin’s technology office allowed the crime camera program’s projected cost to triple as a revolving door of bureaucrats doled out several no-bid contracts and failed to hold vendors accountable. The technology chief “tacitly approved an improper lease agreement that allowed a subcontractor to profit from self-dealing,” the report said.
The inspector general said he and his team are “in discussions with the U.S. attorney’s office about specific violations of law.” Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, lauded the report for highlighting how much money could be saved with proper oversight and accountability. “This shows that $4 million of taxpayer money was mismanaged and squandered just as the city is having to tighten its belt and cut corners, money that could have been used to pay for real improvements to public safety, like more police officers or more prosecutors, ” Goyeneche said.