Cost of removing monuments, $2.1M

Jim Hanzo
June 09, 2017 - 4:26 pm

Officials say the cost of removing the Confederate monuments in New Orleans was $2.1 million.

The price includes the physical removal along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in protection costs.

The Landrieu administration says it did not expect to have to spend so much on security.

The Mayor's office says the city paid $1.04 million of the total costs, while $1.07 million was paid with donated funds.

That come from "Foundation for Louisiana." That group is not saying who provided the money.

The majority of the funds the city paid were for protection from what Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni told WWL TV were "racial extremists." 

He says that alone cost $710,000.

A safety and intelligence contractor named Trident Response Group was hired to help. 

WWL TV reports that invoices show that Trident, a Dallas-based company, provided advice developing operational plans with consultants charging up to $425 an hour and two security advisers.  They are listed on invoices only as "Bob" and "Gary," at $275 and $250 per hour, respectively. 

Several other security analysts monitored threats from white supremacist groups and other sources.

Investigative Reporter David Hammer says that the city used something known as the "Best Interests of the City" provision of the Home Rule Charter to get around rules for professional services contracts and hire Trident without any competitive "request for proposal" or RFP process.

"Due to the critical aspect of the services and the documented risks associated with the relocation project, the standard request for proposal process ... could compromise the timing of the relocation project and could result in additional risk and threats of violence," the Landrieu administration wrote in a memo dated May 1.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu promised he would not spend any city funds to take down the monuments.

Berni insisted the administration kept that pledge, and only paid for logistics, security and storage... not actual removal.

The city took down statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the Liberty Place monument.

"We want this full accounting to be closure on this process and turn the city's attention to what goes in their place and where the monuments go in the future," Berni said.

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