New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who has been at the center of controversies involving city money, on Tuesday agreed to pay the city back nearly $30,000 that she spent on luxury flights.
Cantrell, a Democrat, told reporters at a groundbreaking for a new YWCA that she would repay the city for the first-class flight upgrades following a review of city policy.
“Based on the policy review, however, I will have to reimburse,” she said. “So I’m moving forward to do that.”
Cantrell’s decision comes after a city attorney determined she was a city employee, FOX8 New Orleans reported. City policy requires all city employees to use the lowest fares available or pay back the city for luxury accommodations.
In January, Cantrell flew first class to Washington, D.C., for $2,300, in March, she flew first class to Miami for $2,800, and in June, she traveled to Switzerland first class for $9,800.
This was all followed by a first-class trip to France for $17,000 in July.
Cantrell initially defended the cost of her travel, stating last month that “my travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury. … I need to be safe as I do business on behalf of the city of New Orleans.”
Cantrell is also under fire for allegedly living rent-free in a pricey, city-owned apartment in the French Market Corporation’s Upper Pontalba Building in Jackson Square.
When FOX8 asked the mayor on Tuesday about her use of the unit, Cantrell maintained that her use of the apartment was consistent with that of previous mayors.