That is, if you believe the mayor of New Orleans* (Hint: He is a Democrat and he is the brother of former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu).
After being held in contempt of court by Civil District Judge Kern Reese for failing to devise a plan to pay New Orleans firefighters $142 million in backpay that they have been owed since the 1990’s, Landrieu is now claiming the entire case is a “judicial coup.”
Landrieu, whose administration is appealing the ruling, says that Reese violated the principle of separation of powers when he enforced a former ruling by Judge Michael Bagneris, which mandated that Landrieu pay the firefighters.
His logic that there’s a conspiracy? In his own words:
“I’m going to let you talk to the judge about that. You know the facts, you’ve followed that campaign. You know that the judges wanted a new courthouse; I said no. You know Judge Bagneris was so upset that he stopped and he ran against me. You’re going to have to figure that out yourself. I’m not going to impugn the judge’s motives. But you should ask him that,” Landrieu told Zurik.
“So, let’s be clear about this,” he continues. “This is not about me. This is the judiciary, securing the executive branch of government. That’s what this is.”
Mitch Landrieu is on the hook for nearly $150 million dollars in back pay that is owed to the firefighters of New Orleans. It’s been a big deal in New Orleans because, I kid you not, the Democrats who have run the city (this whole “not paying the firefighters” thing is a Democratic trait down here – there hasn’t been a Republican mayor of New Orleans since the latter part of the 1800s) have left it completely broke… well, sorta. There is the money he’s spending to renovate historic areas of town in order to remove any and all mention of the Confederacy. Other than that, there’s no way you should expect them to have any extra money whatsoever to pay the firefighters who only really save buildings and lives.
The Courts actually dare to tell Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, to pay his bills to the very civil servants that make his city continue running as smoothly as possible (which, to be fair, isn’t the smoothest).
*John Binder over at The Hayride (full disclosure, I write over there, too) has been doing a stellar job with the dysfunction of the government of New Orleans.