Judge freezes trust of millions, benefiting New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A state judge has frozen New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s ability to release money from a land trust, while the city council and mayor battle to control the money.

The Times-Picayune’ The New Orleans Advocate reports that Orleans Diocese Civil District Judge Kern Reese’s ruling came after the council asked the judge to halt Cantrell’s ability to hand out money.

Rees also blocked the flow of funds to other traditional beneficiaries of the trust. The judge said he would decide after Wednesday’s hearing whether to continue the freeze until the lawsuit is resolved.

Wisner Trust’s revenue comes from approximately 38,000 acres of oilfield land in and around the Port of Furchon. Edward Wiesner bequeathed the land to the city in 1914 and divided the proceeds among the city, Tulane University, LSU Health Sciences Center, the Salvation Army and Wiesner’s heirs.

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The trust generates about $9 million a year, a little over a third of which goes to the city.

A court ruled in 2014 that the trust had expired and the city should receive its full value.However, former mayor Mitch Landrieu made no changes to keep the mayor’s power to release funds without council approval

Cantrell and other beneficiaries handed over the trust to a private governing board in 2020, again shutting out the council.

Cantrell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For copyright information, please consult The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, the distributor of the item.

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