Ray Nagin received $50,000 payment by way of mortgage fraudster, records and sources say
Another convicted felon has entered the narrative in the Ray Nagin investigation. Michael McGrath Jr., a former mortgage bank chief who is serving a 14-year prison term for selling fraudulent credit union loans, helped Frank Fradella funnel a $50,000 payment to Nagin in June 2008, during his second term as mayor, according to The Times-Picayune's review of federal securities records and interviews with sources close to the probe.
Enlarge John McCusker, The Times-Picayune
JOHN McCUSKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Jim Letten walks outside the Federal Courthouse with New Orleans Inspector General Edouard Quatrevaux in New Orleans Wednesday, June 27, 2012, after Frank Fradella pled guilty to bribery.
Fradella pleads guilty to bribery gallery (6 photos)
Fradella pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to bribe a public official known to be Nagin. Specifically, according to his plea documents, he paid Nagin $50,000 on June 23, 2008, delivered truckloads of free granite for Nagin's family countertop business, Stone Age LLC, and gave him several $10,000 payments for consulting work after Nagin left office.
But possibly the most intriguing admission from Fradella was the $50,000 payoff, which prosecutors say came in exchange for favorable treatment for Fradella's companies with city contracts. McGrath was the chairman of the board for Fradella's main company at the time, Home Solutions of America.
McGrath's involvement in the payoff appears to be right out of Fradella's playbook of playing shell games with contracts and money. According to the factual basis for Fradella's guilty plea, the $50,000 payment was funneled through a bank account controlled by a board member of Fradella's company, and to conceal the deal, Nagin allegedly provided McGrath documents that would purportedly give him ownership in Nagin's Stone Age.
No such ownership change was ever recorded with the Louisiana secretary of state, however.
The bill of information in the federal bribery and wire fraud case against Frank Fradella
The factual basis for the federal case against Frank Fradella
Home Solutions' corporate filings as a publicly traded company show that on June 11, 2008, less than two weeks before the payoff to Nagin, Home Solutions paid $50,000 to McGrath as an "advisory fee" to McGrath's lending firm EvenFlow Funding. The records show the fee was paid to EvenFlow in exchange for McGrath's firm buying $1 million in Home Solutions stock.
McGrath pleaded guilty last year in Newark, N.J., to mail and wire fraud and money laundering for his role in a $136 million mortgage fraud scheme.
And your off to jail !
stay classy Ray Nagin, stay classy
Ray Ray say it ain't so cuz its off to jail you go.
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