Mayor LaToya Cantrell audited bodyguards and stylist
Embattled New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is under fire again, this time for her selective use of the services of a male bodyguard and the $175,000 her campaign paid to an “image consultant.”
The spate of questions surrounding the mayor comes just three weeks after she was shamed into paying the city of New Orleans nearly $29,000 for first-class airline tickets to Europe.
One of the new controversies surrounding the Democrat, who made history by becoming the first woman elected mayor of New Orleans in 2018, centers on Officer Jeffrey Vappie, who has been a member of the mayor’s executive protection team since May 2021.
According to extensive coverage by Fox 8, prior to Vappie’s hiring, Cantrell had never taken security guards on the trips she took between 2019 and early 2021.
All that changed in autumn 2021 when the Mayor flew to Scotland with Vappie.
In September 2022, Vappie accompanied Cantrell on a trip to Los Angeles, with both the mayor and security guard flying first class — though it’s unclear who paid for the travel upgrade.
During this trip, Cantrell attended a fundraising dinner with Brad Pitt at a Beverly Hills mansion.
So far in 2022, taxpayers have paid more than $50,000 for Cantrell’s security team to accompany them on trips both domestically and internationally.
Fox 8 records show the mayor has made 14 trips since January and was out for 57 days as of November 15.
Vappie has protected the mayor on eight trips, and another member of the security team has traveled with her on five trips.
The investigation found that Vappie spent 112 hours over 27 days at the married mayor’s $3,000-a-month city-owned apartment in the Upper Pontalba Building with Cantrell, according to security footage obtained through a freedom of information request filed May 45 days included.
Outside surveillance cameras overlooking the building even showed Vappie watering the mayor’s plants on the balcony.
Rafael Goyeneche, head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing public corruption, called for a thorough investigation to determine whether the mayor or her security guard committed administrative violations.
Meanwhile, Cantrell is facing questions about payments totaling $175,000 she made to her personal shopper and stylist, Tanya Blunt-Haynes.
Payments to Haynes have increased over time, reaching $6,000 a month in 2021, according to a campaign funding report.
Unknown sources told Fox that the FBI subpoenaed receipts and interviewed employees at Ballin’s, a luxury boutique where Blunt-Haynes bought thousands of dollars worth of clothing for the mayor
Cantrell later wore the outfits sourced for her by her image consultant to the Essence Fest and the 2018 visit of the Spanish royal couple.
Separately, in September, a grand jury subpoena was served at BC Kitchen & Bath, where Blunt-Haynes bought a $17,000 kitchen for her home, WWL-TV reported.
Cantrell, who earns $188,000 a year, previously came under fire for buying first-class airline tickets for official deals.
She insisted the travel upgrades were “business expenses” necessary to her well-being and safety, saying: “Anyone who wants to ask how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in .”
https://nypost.com/2022/11/18/mayor-latoya-cantrell-scrutinized-over-bodyguard-stylist/ Mayor LaToya Cantrell audited bodyguards and stylist