Former N.O. technology chief Meffert fined for ethics violation

Former New Orleans technology chief Greg Meffert has paid a $2,000 fine for violating state ethics law.

The fine comes in settlement of charges related to Meffert’s use of credit cards and gifts from Mark St. Pierre and his companies at a time when St. Pierre’s companies had a business relationship with the city.

The case stems from a pattern of wrongdoing during the administration of convicted ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Meffert testified during Nagin’s recent trial.

The state Board of Ethics signed off on the consent opinion Friday, ending its case against Meffert.

State law bans a public servant from receiving anything of economic value as a gift or gratuity from a person who has, or is seeking to have, a contractual, business or financial relationship with his or her agency.

Meffert pled guilty to two federal charges in November 2010. He had been indicted in 2009 on charges of conspiracy, bribery and public corruption in a sweeping 63-count federal indictment. Also indicted at the time were Meffert’s wife, Linda, and St. Pierre.

The charges stemmed from allegations he gave kickbacks to St. Pierre, a former business partner.

Meffert served as chief technology officer from June 2002 through May 2006.

The consent opinion states that St. Pierre owns Veracent and NetMethods and that Veracent sold crime cameras installed in New Orleans. The opinion noted that St. Pierre provided Meffert with an American Express card on NetMethods’ corporate account, which was used by Meffert between 2004 and 2006. In addition, it said St. Pierre allowed Meffert to use his yacht — the Silicon Bayou.

“Since Veracent had a business relationship with the City of New Orleans, (state law) prohibited Mr. Meffert from receiving from Veracent’s owner, Mr. St. Pierre, albeit through this other company NetMethods, the use of the credit card and yacht,” according to the consent opinion to which Meffert agreed.

The Ethics Board could have imposed up to a $10,000 fine. “In this particular situation, given the facts outlined above, it is the conclusion of the board that the interest of the public would be served by the imposition of a $2,000 penalty on Greg Meffert,” the board said.

Follow Marsha Shuler on Twitter, @MarshaShulerCNB.