I was at Finn McCool’s Saturday night, having a beer with Michael Homan and waiting for Erich W. to show up. Erich won a night of drinking with us at a fundraising auction for the Mid-City library branch, but that’s another story. Suffice to say we weren’t drinking for pleasure; we were drinking for charity.

That’s when I got a text from Xy:

This just in: oliver thomas just indicted 4 corruption

I pointed my phone to nola.com and saw the story. Oliver Thomas, one of our at-large reps on the New Orleans City Council, is rumored to be pleading guilty to corruption charges and is expected to resign Monday.

It was the subject of much of our conversation that night. There have been a lot of high profile political scandals around these parts lately, but this was still stunning to us. Thomas was generally regarded as a shoo-in for our next mayor, and he seems to be well-liked. I know in the aftermath of Katrina I often heard him on the radio, and I was almost always impressed by his intelligence and spirit and candor.

Probably it was the beer, but I went out on a limb to make a prediction. O.T. will plead guilty, resign, say sorry, ask forgiveness, rehabilitate his image, run for mayor in 2010 — and win.

If I’m wrong, we don’t need to mention this prediction again. But if I’m right, you’ll never hear the end of it.

Anyway, I suppose it’s good when corruption is exposed, but I’m still dismayed by the whole turn of events, and will certainly be interested to see what Thomas actually has to say tomorrow morning.

Of course the big question looming in everyone’s mind: Who will be the next to fall in this federal probe that seems to keep getting wider?

  1. I agree with your prediction. Happens all the time.

    Take for instance..

    Cianci resigned from office for the first time in 1984 after pleading no contest to assaulting a man with a lit cigarette, an ashtray and a fireplace log. Cianci claimed that the man had been having an affair with his wife, though both the man and Cianci’s then wife said nothing had happened

    But then it gets worse…

    Cianci was indicted in April 2001 on federal criminal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, witness tampering, and mail fraud. Several other Providence city officials were also indicted. Much of the trial was focused around a video tape showing top Cianci aide Frank A. Corrente taking a bribe

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Cianci,_Jr

    Full disclosure, should I ever decide to seek Public Office

    Buddy Cianci gave me 5 dollars to vote for him, I accepted the 5 dollars but did not vote that year.

    “I am not a Crook”

  2. Wish I could tell you it won’t happen but that would be foolish of me.

    As to the next name, if it were Mark Morial, I would be very surprised. It seems that people are afraid of him. Anyone know why?

  3. Your fantasy about Thomas running makes me puke. What exaclty is great about that– redemptoin of the sinner? It’s a sick fantasy. The last thing in the world htis city needs is a proven crook running and corrupting voters. Yes corruptig voters. Votin for a felon is a corruptoin of the whole process and discourages honest people from participating in politics. It’s a lame fantasy and it’s exactly what’s wrong iwth NewOrleans politics. People personalize, oh he’s a nice guy. and they never look at the actions. Edwin Edwards was a nice guy– and have you ever noticed every time a serial killer is arrested, the neighbors say, he’s so polite, he’s such a nice guy. Who the hell cares. I want to see an honest guy in office, and felons need not apply.

  4. Oliver cannot run for office in Louisiana with a felony conviction. Is it 15 years? My understanding is that he cannot run unless he gets the conviction expunged or is pardoned by the governor. Google isn’t helping.

  5. b. rox comments favorably on Thomas’s performance during the post Katrina flooding.

    But I remember Thomas echoing uncritically the shoot to kill rhetoric of Bush, Blanco, and Nagin.

    And Thomas echoed the rascist views of those who oppose the right of project residents to return to their homes.

    Thomas was also complicit over the years in all the ENTERGY prices increases which are based on phoney “market” prices.

    He may have acted the nice guy but in practice he represented big business interests ahead of his constituents.

    Good riddance!

  6. Sorry, Les, I wasn’t here in New Orleans during the flooding. I meant that I heard Thomas on the radio months later, when I was able to return to New Orleans. I also heard him speak at community meetings. His rhetoric was sometimes almost revolutionary, calling on the people to rise up and hold gov’t accountable. That’s not something you hear from politicians every day.

    However, in the final analysis, I agree with you. Good riddance to all corrupt politicians.

  7. No matter their intentions, corrupt politicians are always worthless. They can never be trusted. I think the point was though that for some reason this city/region loves it Pirates, Robin Hoods & eccentircs, especially in government. Sad to say, most folks find honest people/politicians dull and don’t vote for them or turn out for their elections. Even worse–they would be fine with a mostly trustworthy incompetent boob–Eddie Jordin anyone? I shouldn’t say just this city/region though. Look at the Halaburtin/Big Oil crooks running this country at the moment.

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