Earl Myers, one of four contractors who admitted paying kickbacks to a city official who ran a key anti-blight program after Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced Thursday to a year of probation, a term that includes six months of home confinement.
U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown also ordered Myers to pay $173,000 in restitution.
Myers’ sentencing came just weeks after Stacey Jackson, the former head of New Orleans Affordable Homeownership, was sentenced to five years in prison for taking bribes from Myers and others. Myers had been prepared to testify against Jackson, but she pleaded guilty on the eve of a trial that was scheduled for July.
Myers’ two construction firms were paid more than $500,000 for gutting and other remediation work by NOAH, a city-funded nonprofit that then-Mayor Ray Nagin gave a leading role in the post-Katrina cleanup. News reports in 2008 showed that much of the work NOAH paid for, including some of Myers’ jobs, was never completed.
A federal investigation ensued, and eventually, four contractors and two NOAH employees, including Jackson, were charged. Myers admitted paying Jackson thousands of dollars in kickbacks as well as helping to orchestrate a coverup of the scheme by submitting to the grand jury false invoices prepared by Jackson. All of them took plea deals in the end. Only one defendant, Trellis Smith, has yet to be sentenced; his sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 12.