Dec 062012

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The race for the open District B seat on the New Orleans City Council has now generated more than half a million dollars in campaign cash, as the two candidates heading into Saturday’s runoff election are escalating their attacks on one another.

Dana Kaplan alone has raised well more than half of that money, while her runoff opponent LaToya Cantrell (who finished first in the Nov. 6 primary) has yet to match the money raised by former candidate Eric Strachan (who finished third and subsequently endorsed her). Meanwhile, Cantrell’s attacks on Kaplan have sought to paint her as a carpetbagging friend of criminals, while Kaplan’s team wants voters to see Cantrell as plagued with ethical problems.

Dana Kaplan‘s total fundraising for the District B camapaign has soared to more than $300,000 — when loans and donations of services are included — especially in the latter part of her campaign, since her endorsement by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and her second-place finish in the Nov. 6 primary.

Notable contributions in the reports made available since the primary include (though some totals include contributions from both before and after the primary):

  • $10,000 from three different companies registered to executives from Georges Enterprises at the same Metairie address (National Holdings Inc., Geocor Properties and Sunshine Ventures),
  • $6,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC;
  • $2,500 from CTL Ventures (which is registered to Carol T. Lagasse of The MCC Group, a Metairie contractor, and that also gave $2,500 before the primary) and $2,500 from GMP Ventures (registered to Lagasse and Glenn Perilloux, also of The MCC Group);
  • $4,500 from Frances Gray Fayard of New Orleans; and $4,500 from Crescent Bank of New Orleans;
  • $4,000 from two companies registered to a pair of doctors, Scott Sullivan and Frank Dellacroce (St. Charles Surgical Hospital LLC and the Center for Restorative Surgery LLC); $4,000 from developer Sean Cummings; and $4,000 from the Southern California Fund, a Congressional PAC run by U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, Kaplan’s brother-in-law;
  • $3,500 from High Horizons Inc. (registered to executives from International-Matex Tank Terminals); and $3,500 from the Jones Walker law firm;
  • $3,000 from a pair of companies registered to Kelleher Reiss of New Orleans (K&J Land and Development and Fair City Land and Development); and $3,000 from Tulane board members Avram and Jill Glazer;
  • $2,500 each from Mayor Mitch Landrieu; TBLB Investments (registered to founders of All-Star Electric); NOLA PEDI-CABS LLC; Richard/Lisa Farrell of Houston; a company called Poydras Properties LLC; Murray Architects of Destrehan; William F. Ryan of the Federal City development team; the New Orleans Hospitality Coalition PAC; a company called Park Investment Ltd.; a company called Baronne Development No. 2 LLC that’s registered to members of the Kailas, Kata and Khoobehi families of Metairie; Arthur Huguley IV of New Orleans; Loyola law professor Stephen Singer; Stuart Smith of New Orleans; Marco Outdoor Advertising; Alan Franco of New Orleans; the Bruno and Bruno law firm; attorney Morris Bart; Gregory Holt of New Orleans; Bollinger Shipyards; and $2,250 from the Jones Swanson Huddell law firm;
  • $2,000 from Stirling Properties and its chairman, James Maurin; $2,000 each from Mid-Gulf Recovery Services of Saint Rose; William Prady of Encino, Calif.; International House LLC (registered in part to Sean Cummings); the Gauthier Houghtaling and Williams law firm; James Carville; architect William Sizeler of New Orleans; the Elkins law firm; a company called Dryades Commercial Enterprises; and Bobby Major Jr. of Baton Rouge.

Total fundraising reported by LaToya Cantrell is now just shy of $100,000, about half of which has come in the latter phase of the campaign. Notable contributions include:

  • $2,500 each from Doug Ahlers, a Harvard professor involved in Broadmoor and an early Cantrell supporter; William Rouselle; Ethel Rouselle; Infinity Fuels (which is proposing the gas station attached to Sterling Express on Tchoupitoulas); Richard’s Disposal; Reily Foods Company; Robert Reily; RPS Ventures (also registered to Randy Simon and Carol Lagasse of The MCC Group); Keith Hardie of Maple Area Residents Inc.; Stuart Smith; and $2,000 from Joseph Thompson of New Orleans;
  • $1,500 each from Anthony Gelderman III; Henry Braden IV; Jay Lapeyre; and Phyllis Taylor;
  • $1,000 on Oct. 31 from Rodney Williams of Destrehan, who pleaded guilty Wednesday to bribing a public official widely believed to be former Mayor Ray Nagin;
  • $500 from Herschel Abbott, the 2011 King of Rex; $250 from Councilwoman Kristin Palmer’s campaign; $250 from Sandy Rosenthal of

The Cantrell campaign returned the donation from Williams as soon as the bribery charge became public, said spokesman David Winkler-Schmit. “As soon as we found out, we returned it,” Winkler-Schmit.

Eric Strachan

Eric Strachan’s strong fundraising continued right up until the Nov. 6 election, when he finished third behind Kaplan. Strachan went on to endorse Cantrell, and there is some overlap between the top donors to the two of them.

Strachan’s total contributions were just short of $140,000. Notable contributions in the last week before the election include: $2,000 from High Horizons Inc. and James Coleman; $2,000 from Stuart Smith of New Orleans; $1,500 from Louis Costa of New Orleans; $1,000 each Crescent Bank and Trust, Need a Ride LLC and Robert Lynch of New Orleans; and $500 from Herschel Abbott.

Marlon “Buck” Horton

Marlon “Buck” Horton did not collect any contributions, but spent about $4,000 on an election night party at the Joy Theater, his reports show.

Fighting words

So what is all that money being spent on? The vast majority of expenditures for both Cantrell and Kaplan were campaign consultants and printing costs, and as Saturday’s election approaches, they have been the source of a series of squabbles between the two.

Early last week, the Kaplan campaign issued the results of a poll they said showed their candidate with a double-digit lead in the race. When Cantrell supporters who received the poll complained that the questions were skewed to cast their candidate in a negative light — bringing up an old ethics fine against Cantrell and the marijuana charge against her husband — the survey resulted in a scolding in The Times-Picayune.

The Kaplan campaign continued to hit Cantrell on the ethics fine from her pre-Katrina School Board candidacy, however, issuing a mailer calling her a “mess” and saying, “We’ve had enough of lawbreakers and corruption.”

City Councilwoman Stacy Head, a Cantrell supporter, angrily denounced the flyer at a Nov. 29 fundraiser at her home, saying the fine was a minor matter from years ago.

“To try and paint this as, ‘she’s an unethical person,’ is below the belt,” Head said, pledging to fight back.

The following day, the Cantrell campaign issued its own news release urging residents to “shop local” — and accusing Kaplan of “outsourcing” some of her campaign consulting to Baton Rouge, Nashville and Oklahoma City. A subsequent mailer by the Cantrell campaign then described Kaplan — who is director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana — as a lobbyist for violent criminals.

A line on that flyer, however, quoted District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro as saying that Kaplan had fought his own efforts to convict criminals — which on Wednesday led to a rebuttal by Cannizzaro himself. Though the line came from a flyer by Strachan, whom Cannizzaro supported, the district attorney said he never originally authorized it.

“After meeting with both Dana Kaplan and LaToya Cantrell, I remain neutral because I believe that both of them would support the criminal justice reforms for which I continue to advocate,” Cannizzaro said.

The election is Saturday, and polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  4 Responses to “Fundraising for District B council seat tops $500,000 as last-minute attacks escalate”

  1. $500,000 in fundraising for a $60k a year job. Hopefully the neighborhood associations don’t own and run them like they do Guidry,

  2. What happens to any unspent funds? In elections like this, does the loser wind up going broke? I’m curious.

  3. Oh if I could begin to point out the Corruption in Kaplans List
    multiple donations from Georges. and Multiples from Joey Murray ???

  4. You can’t buy an election in New Orleans.

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