Court documents unsealed last week reveal that Mr. Fradella, whose company landed lucrative recovery deals from the Nagin administration, has signed a plea agreement in a federal securities fraud case in Texas. That case is unrelated to the Nagin probe, but the plea deal requires Mr. Fradella to plead guilty to unspecified charges in New Orleans.
The court record didn’t include the nature of the New Orleans charges. But Mr. Fradella is reportedly a key figure in the grand jury’s investigation of former Mayor Nagin. That could make his agreement to plead guilty a potentially significant step for the New Orleans investigation and a sign that U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office is aggressively pursuing this case. Mr. Nagin has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing.
The recently unveiled court documents do not expressly link Mr. Fradella to the Nagin probe. But the May 23 agreement states that Mr. Fradella intends to plead guilty in the Eastern District of Louisiana, which includes New Orleans, instead of the Texas district where his securities case had been filed.
Prosecutors in that case alleged that Mr. Fradella, as CEO of disaster-services firm Home Solutions of America, approved false or misleading news releases that helped inflate the company’s stock and allowed him to cash in at a profit.
Mr. Fradella’s attorney, Randy Smith, said the court document “reflects that Mr. Fradella has agreed to resolve the charges against him in Dallas with the case being transferred to New Orleans for further proceedings.” Mr. Smith didn’t elaborate.