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Uncle of Ex-La. Mayor Convicted of Graft

May 25, 2006

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ The uncle of former Mayor Marc Morial pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing $550,000 from a transit agency, the third conviction in a federal probe of corruption at city hall and in the public schools.

Glenn Haydel pleaded guilty to fraud against a federal program and would serve two years in prison if a judge approves the deal, said U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. The city’s transit authority receives federal funds.

The investigation of corruption during Morial’s administration has touched several people close to him, but the former mayor has not been implicated. A spokeswoman for the National Urban League, which Morial now heads, said he would not comment.

Haydel, the brother of Morial’s mother, is a businessman and consultant. He held a lucrative consulting contract with the Regional Transit Authority when Morial was in office in the 1990s.

Haydel admitted diverting $550,000 from an authority trust account to his own company, Metro New Orleans Transit Inc., and then taking $350,000 for his personal use, Letten said.

Haydel’s business partner, John S. Keller, admitted in August to getting paid $10,000 as part of Haydel’s scheme.

Haydel’s wife, Lillian Smith Haydel, pleaded guilty in 2004 to a conspiracy in which she and other insurance brokers paid kickbacks to an Orleans Parish school official.

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