Developer Michael Samuel, once a driving force in the gentrification of Miami’s blighted north side, is believed to be an unnamed player in the 21-count corruption indictment against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
Nagin, who rose to fame for chiding the federal administration of George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina flooded the Big Easy in 2005, is alleged to have accepted kickbacks from developers and contractors.
Nagin, 56, was charged with money laundering, fraud, bribery and filing false tax returns. The two-term mayor’s out on $100,000-bail after pleading not guilty yesterday.
Nagin is believed to have accepted more than $200,000 in cash, gifts and free trips from contractors and developers.
Citing unnamed sources, several news organizations in NOLA identified Samuel as one of Nagin’s corruptors!
Samuel was the co-developer on the Midtown Miami housing and commercial center, and a driving force in developing the area now favored by urban living lovers.
Samuel, who lives in Miami Beach, also became involved in New Orleans Market Street project, a condo development on the site of a vacant electrical plant.
Samuel is believed to have funneled $100,000 to Nagin in monthly installments of about $12,500 to secure his help.
Neither Samuel, who has not been indicted, nor two of his Miami lawyers returned calls for comment.
Deborah Samuel, Michael’s wife, did not respond to messages left on her voice mail at work. She is the vice president of Midtown Miami.
Michael Samuel filed for federal bankruptcy last year. Some creditors accuse him of shielding up to $20 million in assets by transferring them to Deborah, the daughter of a reputed mobster!