Hurricane Katrina Chicanery

$15.5 million

New Orleans, LA

2010 - 2018

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, then-mayor Ray Nagin’s office granted NobleOutReach—a company founded by Maryland residents William Bart Hungerford and Colonel Timothy Milbrath—exclusive rights to raise funds through EB-5 investments for new construction and job creation to aid with the city’s recovery following the devastating storm.

Pitching a hotel and conference center project to include a WOW Café & Wingery, Hungerford and Milbrath raised $15.5 million from 31 foreign investors. However, after an ostentatious ground-breaking ceremony, no further progress on the project was made and no jobs were created.

Reportedly, Hungerford and Milbrath paid themselves and their wives exorbitant salaries with the investment money and moved additional funds through other business they established outside of Louisiana. In May 2018, federal prosecutors indicted the two men on several counts of fraud and money laundering.

Cronyism connection: Milbrath is a retired Air Force Colonel who served as White House Military Office’s Chief of Staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

Bonus: Former Mayor Nagin was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison.