(Daily Mail) New Orleans Democrat mayor has declared economy class flights unsafe for black women, while insisting she wont repay $30,000 of taxpayers’ money blown on first-class flights to France and Switzerland.
Speaking at a press conference Thursday, LaToya Cantrell said: ‘My travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury.
‘As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone.
As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be.
‘Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in.’
She has repeatedly refused to repay the cost of a luxury American Airlines flight from Washington Dulles Airport to Switzerland for herself in July, despite a city ban on luxury air travel.
Cantrell spent around $10,000 on her own flat bed seat and blew a similar amount on a first-class return to France earlier this year – while her aides traveled in coach.
Cantrell has defended her purchase of the luxury tickets as her both ‘doing business’ on behalf of the city and because she believes it wouldn’t be safe for her to travel in economy class.
The Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, is refusing to repay money spent on international business and first class flights to France and Switzerland
At yesterday’s press conference, @FOX8NOLA was the only station that asked Mayor LaToya Cantrell about whether or not she will reimburse thousands of dollars to the city for her travel upgrades.
Here’s her full statement: pic.twitter.com/swA2flFIkc
— Andrés Fuentes (@news_fuentes) September 9, 2022
While the mayor sat in first-class, her team, including her security detail, were seated in coach.
The Chief Administrative Officer has revealed how the law department is still examining whether Cantrell must reimburse almost $30,000 in taxpayer money for first-class tickets to France and Switzerland.
The mayor had an extremely prickly response when questioned by journalists on Thursday as to whether she was considering forking out to replenish city coffers.
‘All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,’ Mayor Cantrell said speaking outside the Nix Library.
‘One thing is clear; I do my job and I will continue to do it with distinction and integrity every step of the way. And so, that’s what I have to say on that!’
During a press conference Cantrell explained her purchase was a ‘safety issue’ rather than one of comfort. She has also justified the extravagant expense because they were business trips
The mayor insists that the trips and luxury travel expenses were necessary in order to better New Orleans itself.
But the city’s travel policy leaves little room for maneuver: ‘Employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available…Employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy, or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost.’
The policy also states: ‘Any reconciliation of travel expenses that results in overpayment by the City requires that the employee reimburse the City within twenty business days’
The mayor’s own staff tell Fox 8 they are ‘checking’ to see if the city policy even applies to the mayor who is an elected official and not specifically hired by the city itself.
‘I think that’s still under review with law kind of determining the variations between the CAO policy, the elected official policy, and the different variations,’ Chief Administrative Officer for the city, Gilbert Montaño said.
‘There’s no ultimate conclusion at this current moment. Right now it’s in law, and we are evaluating it and I think there would be a determination sooner rather than later.’