NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Tuesday she’ll pay the city back for nearly $30,000 worth of first-class overseas flights, a reversal that came after a City Council member discussed taking action to recover the money — and after her own City Hall officials said it should be reimbursed.
Cantrell had resisted paying the money back, saying the higher-cost flight upgrades on trips to Switzerland and France were for legitimate business purposes, boosting economic development for the city.
But the city attorney and her chief administrative officer have recently said the costs must be reimbursed.
And City Council President Helena Moreno said last month the council has the power to reduce the mayor’s salary next year if she does not pay for the upgrades.
Also, some in the city have launched a recall effort, citing among their reasons the city’s violent crime problem.
Cantrell, at a Tuesday groundbreaking for a YWCA facility, did not give a timeline for paying back the money.
She said again that the travel upgrades were for her health and well-being, noting the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also cited security concerns.
“Based on the policy review, however, I will have to reimburse,” she said. “So I’m moving forward to do that.”