Ray Nagin, New Orleans ex-mayor, has been charged with 21 federal counts of wire fraud, bribery, filing false tax returns and money laundering.
Ray Nagin, 56, mayor from 2002-10, came to national attention when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
Beginning in June 2004, Ray Nagin took payments, travel and other gratuities in exchange for city contracts and other favors, prosecutors said.
At least four of his associates have already pleaded guilty in the case.
“Mayor Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefitted the business and financial interests of individuals providing him bribery/kickback payoffs,” the indictment reads.
According to the federal indictment, Ray Nagin accepted more than $160,000 in bribes from local businessman Frank Fradella.
In exchange, Ray Nagin helped Frank Fradella secure millions of dollars in contracts from the city in the wake of Katrina, including construction at the airport and sidewalk repair projects, prosecutors said.
Ray Nagin is also charged with accepting payoffs worth at least $60,000 from another businessman, Rodney Williams, who was given consulting and construction contracts with the city.
Frank Fradella and Rodney Williams have already pleaded guilty in connection with the case and are expected to testify against the former mayor, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The indictment alleges that over the course of his time in office, Ray Nagin travelled with his family to Hawaii and Jamaica on trips paid for by local businessmen.
He accepted free travel by private jet to Chicago, Las Vegas and New York City, according to the indictment.
Two former officials in Ray Nagin’s administration have also pleaded guilty to corruption charges dating from their time at city hall.
Ray Nagin was a cable television executive before he entered public life in 2002.
He was backed strongly by white voters in his first run for mayor, styling himself as a candidate with bipartisan appeal and a progressive agenda.
Ray Nagin was thrust into the national spotlight during Hurricane Katrina and was re-elected to a second term as mayor in 2006.
Subsequently, a surge in violent crime, the slow pace of reconstruction, and the burgeoning corruption scandal at city hall undermined his popularity.
Since leaving office in 2010 Ray Nagin has stayed out of the political spotlight and has reportedly relocated to Dallas, Texas.