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FBI zeroes in on Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s picture guide

The guide, Tanya Blunt Haynes, owns a hair salon in Gentilly and a picture consulting enterprise referred to as Jolie Picture Consulting.

NEW ORLEANS — Because the FBI zeroes in on Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s picture guide, questions stay about greater than $230,000. Cantrell’s marketing campaign paid the guide in three and a half years.

The guide, Tanya Blunt Haynes, owns a hair salon in Gentilly and a picture consulting enterprise referred to as Jolie Picture Consulting. There may be nothing within the legislation that prohibits utilizing marketing campaign cash to pay for picture consulting providers, however there are questions on purchases Haynes made for Cantrell whereas the marketing campaign was paying her a retainer that reached $6,000 a month in 2021.

A federal grand jury issued subpoenas at space shops in August and September, asking for information of Haynes’ purchases. One went to a kitchen and tub retailer in Metairie the place the supervisor stated Haynes and her husband de ella, former New Orleans police detective Vernon Haynes, bought cupboards for a kitchen rework at their house de ella.

However one other subpoena went to a high-end clothes boutique on Journal Avenue the place sources with information of the investigation stated Haynes bought 1000’s of {dollars} price of outfits for Cantrell.

Haynes posted on her LinkedIn profile pictures of Cantrell carrying the hairstyles and attire Haynes supplied throughout her 2017 mayoral marketing campaign, and for particular occasions whereas she was mayor, such because the 2019 Essence Competition. A supply additionally confirmed that Haynes purchased a gown at Ballin’s boutique on Journal Avenue that Cantrell wore in 2018 when the king and queen of Spain visited to mark the three hundredth anniversary of New Orleans, which was dominated by Spain for the final a part of the 18th century. .

Cantrell’s marketing campaign paid Haynes greater than $28,000 for 2 months of consulting in the course of the 2017 marketing campaign. And it saved paying her $145,000 within the first three years after Cantrell took workplace in Could 2018. When Cantrell ran for re-election in 2021, Haynes’ retainer was raised to $6,000 a month. Cantrell has not filed any marketing campaign finance experiences for 2022.

Haynes was linked to the Cantrell marketing campaign by pollster Silas Lee, who stated Haynes is a revered hair stylist and picture guide. Lee stated he beneficial Haynes to Cantrell when she was a metropolis councilwoman operating for her first time period as mayor. Cantrell and one other lady, Desiree Charbonnet, have been vying to be town’s first feminine mayor, and Lee stated picture consulting has turn into a necessity for feminine candidates dealing with a double normal.

“Candidates which might be operating for workplace, if they’re male, (voters) would possibly simply have a look at {qualifications},” Lee stated. “Whereas with girls, they have a look at apparel, persona, presentation, demeanor, what they’re carrying, how they relate to different individuals. So, all that is a part of making ready candidates to run for workplace.”

The query is, what purchases did Haynes make for the mayor whereas being paid as a guide? Former federal prosecutor Shaun Clarke stated it may violate marketing campaign finance legislation and even federal fraud statutes if marketing campaign funds are used for a politician’s private enrichment.

“The essential problem is whether or not that was a legit marketing campaign or political function for using the funds,” Clarke stated. “And if there was not, there may be federal legal legal responsibility for marketing campaign finance violations and, frankly, for violation of the overall fraud statutes, mail fraud, and wire fraud. These statutes are broadly written, and prosecutors have used them very creatively, in New Orleans and elsewhere.”

The Cantrell marketing campaign declined to remark, however directed inquiries to the Baton Rouge lawyer who compiles its marketing campaign finance experiences to handle the property of the funds to Haynes. That lawyer, Jimmy Burland, stated he by no means reviewed Haynes’ bills from her, however relatively he merely recorded the funds the marketing campaign made to her and filed the experiences from her.

“So far as what she obtained from these consulting providers, I am unable to let you know, as a result of that is all I do know,” he stated. “She paid for that on a periodic foundation, and no person inquired to me whether or not it was acceptable or not. I do not query bills except I am requested about them.”

Burland did say that sure picture bills are allowed beneath marketing campaign finance legal guidelines and others aren’t.

“Marketing campaign finance permits expenditures for styling and make-up,” he stated. “Private clothes gadgets are typically not allowed by marketing campaign finance. You’ll be able to’t pay for dry-cleaning or clothes gadgets if it is not associated to the marketing campaign.”

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