New Orleans mayor refuses to apologize or reimburse $30,000 in first-class travel expenses
New Orleans MAyor LaToya Cantrell is refusing to reimburse the city for nearly $30,000 in travel expenses, including on first-class or business-class flights.
City travel policy requires New Orleans city workers to select the cheapest options or compensate the city for the difference, but Cantrell suggested the expensive travel expenses were necessary for his safety.
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“Any expenses incurred in doing business on behalf of the City of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the City of New Orleans,” she said, according to WWL. “One thing is clear: I am doing my job and will continue to do so with distinction and integrity at every step. That’s what I have to say on that.
Cantrell has racked up $29,000 in fees for traveling first class or business class instead of a coach since January 2021, including a nearly $18,000 trip to France over the summer, the Timetable-Picayune and the New Orleans Defender reported.
It’s unclear whether the city’s travel policy requiring reimbursement of high-end travel expenses applies to the mayor, its chief executive Gilbert Montano told the outlet. Cantrell has previously highlighted his concerns for his safety while defending his travel bills.
“My travel accommodation is about safety, not luxury. As all women know, our health and safety is often ignored and we have to navigate it alone. As the mother of a young child that I live for, I will protect myself by all reasonable means,” she stressed to the outlet in August.
“Anyone who wants to wonder how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world that black women live in,” she added.
Cantrell has withstood mounting criticism for his travel expenses.
“You’re comparing the fact that $30,000 is just the difference in cost between a coach seat and first class, and our New Orleans police department’s starting salary is $40,000,” said Laura Rodrigue, founder of the Mama Bear Group. Told Fox News Monday. “You have to take that into consideration as we are the murder capital of the country right now.”
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New Orleans has faced 145 homicides since the start of the year through June 30, the city newspaper reported. By comparison, the city suffered 218 murders in 2021. Last week, Cantrell unveiled a plan to boost police recruitment and retention.
The Washington Examiner contacted the mayor’s office for comment.