Judge freezes millions from trust that benefits New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A state judge has frozen the ability of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to hand out money from a land trust while the City Council and mayor fight for control of money.
The Times-Picayune ′ The New Orleans Advocate reports the ruling by Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Kern Reese came after the council asked the judge to halt Cantrell’s ability to give out money.
Reese also blocked money from flowing to the trust’s other traditional beneficiaries. The judge said he would decide after a Wednesday hearing if he will keep the freeze in place until the lawsuit is resolved.
The Wisner Trust generates revenue from about 38,000 acres of oilfield land in and around Port Fourchon. Edward Wisner willed the land to the city in 1914, and a settlement split up proceeds among the city, Tulane University, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, the Salvation Army and Wisner’s heirs.
The trust produces roughly $9 million a year, with a little more than a third of that going to the city.
A court determined in that 2014 the trust had expired, and the city should get its full value. However, former Mayor Mitch Landrieu made no changes, maintaining the mayor’s power to hand out money without City Council approval
Cantrell and other beneficiaries turned the trust over to a private management board in 2020, again shutting out the council.
Cantrell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.