ZURIK: Mayor Cantrell unwilling to back up stalking allegations against Moreno’s security aide
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Six days after an Orleans Parish deputy was reassigned over an allegation that he stalked Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the Mayor has been unwilling to back up the allegations.
Council President Helena Moreno believes the allegations stem from political retaliation and says she doesn’t believe there is any evidence that Deputy Greg Malveaux stalked or surveilled the mayor.
Now, Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins says New Orleans residents deserve more information.
“It’s really not a good look for the mayor, or for the sheriff at this time, because it appears that they’re being very secretive,” said Collins.
So far, the mayor’s office and Sheriff Susan Hutson have refused to provide details on what evidence, if any, exists.
Wednesday night, Cantrell told FOX 8 she had no comment about Malveaux being removed from his position. Thursday morning, FOX 8 reporter Josh Roberson asked a spokesperson for the mayor what evidence there was that Malveaux was in fact stalking Cantrell.
“I think she has already come out and voiced her concerns about her safety,” press secretary John Lawson said. “I think this is perfectly aligned with that, and she’s constantly said that even when it comes to travel she wants safety to be a priority, and I think as a woman leading this city, if she doesn’t feel safe in this city, then we should take heed to that.”
Roberson: “Right, but the council president is claiming that that is not true. That her detail was not stalking the mayor. Is she calling the president council president a liar? mistaken? Does she have any evidence that that claim of stalking?”
Lawson: “We’re not, you know, pointing fingers or naming names or anything. This administration and the mayor, our priority is the mayor’s safety, and not just the mayor’s safety, the safety of this public, which is why we’re focused on NOPD retention, we’re seeing great results there. As we’ve been saying, our priority is keeping our residents safe and protected and the mayor is a resident of the city and she deserves to feel safe and protected as well.”
Roberson: “So I got to ask you a third time because it’s a yes or no. Is there any evidence of any stalking?”
Lawson: “I don’t know of... what anyone knows... in the administration, outside of the administration. I can’t confirm or deny that.”
Councilmember calls for transparency after longtime deputy yanked from Moreno’s security detail
Moreno alleges retaliation from Cantrell after longtime security aide yanked from team
Moreno says Malveaux was removed because Cantrell claims Malveaux stalked her by providing FOX 8 with video for a story that recently aired, which showed Cantrell utilizing a city-owned property for personal use.
As FOX 8 explained in that report, some of the video and images came from a FOX 8 photographer and producer. However, the majority came from a French Market Corporation Camera outside the apartment.
FOX 8 never received any video or information from Malveaux for the story.
Moreno believes there is no evidence that Malveaux stalked or took surveillance of the mayor. Collins believes the mayor and sheriff should be transparent about any evidence.
“It just appears that the accusations are being made secretly. You know, no evidence is being produced, so you could have a situation here where you have a law enforcement officer is simply doing his job simply doing his duty, and he is basically being defamed and people are accusing him of stalking, and you’re not producing any evidence that he is,” said Collins.
Hutson told FOX 8 she wouldn’t address the issue on Wednesday morning.
“I’m not answering questions right now, but I just want to be clear, we don’t discuss personnel matters, not confirming, not denying, we just don’t discuss any internal personnel matters,” Hutson said.
Collins is urging more transparency and says the secrecy doesn’t look good.
“It just appears that some sort of secret arrangement was made behind the scenes between the mayor and the sheriff to pull this deputy off his detail. And it and it appears that it was made because of allegations that we cannot prove - allegations that are not backed up by any evidence. It’s highly unusual. And so the statements from the press secretary didn’t answer any questions. It didn’t give any answers. It just raises more questions,” said Collins.
Moreno says Malveaux has taken leave and is hopeful the sheriff will quickly investigate and clear his name, despite little transparency from those involved in the accusations against him.
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