JUNE 22, 2007
The president of the New Orleans public school board pleaded guilty in federal court to taking bribes from the older brother of indicted Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson in exchange for a lucrative school contract for a firm he represented.
Mose Jefferson, a well-connected lobbyist and consultant, paid the Orleans Parish School Board president (Ellenese Brooks-Simms) $140,000 for her support of a multi million-dollar math curriculum contract with a firm that Jefferson was paid half a million dollars to consult.
Mose Jefferson has for decades served as a chief strategist and campaign organizer for his younger brother William, who was recently charged with bribery, racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Little brother, a nine-term representative from New Orleans, made international headlines when federal authorities captured him on video accepting a cash bribe. The FBI later found $90,000 of the cash wrapped in aluminum foil and stashed in his freezer.
Like his brother, Mose Jefferson has attracted the attention of federal investigators for years. Besides being a key player in his indicted brother’s corrupt African trade deals, Mose was investigated last year when authorities discovered that an obscure charity he headed received thousands of taxpayer dollars from a city official who also happened to be his girlfriend.
The New Orleans City Councilwoman, Renee Gill Pratt, steered a last-minute $16,071 city grant to the nonprofit called Orleans Metropolitan Housing, which was operated by Mose Jefferson. Investigators later discovered that Pratt had over the years steered millions of taxpayer dollars to the charity.
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