As if New Orleans didn't have enough to contend with, a city councilman yesterday pleaded guilty to accepting $20,000 in bribes and resigned. Oliver Thomas confessed he collected the money from a restaurateur seeking to keep a lucrative city contract. He also demanded the businessman hire a friend of his, who paid further kickbacks to Thomas.
The judge called the crime a "body blow" to a city "already reeling under a wave of public corruption." An FBI agent remarked that while corrupt politicians in the north tend to "skim the cream, in Louisiana, they skim the cream, they steal the milk, hijack the bottles and look for the cow." Thomas faces up to 10 years in jail.