NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Award-winning New Orleans trumpet player Irvin Mayfield was indicted Thursday on 19 federal criminal counts, including money laundering and obstruction of justice charges arising from his role with a foundation that raised money for New Orleans libraries.
Mayfield and his friend Ronald Markham were charged in connection with their service as board members of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. The indictment alleges they used more than $1.3 million in library foundation funds to enrich themselves. That included money to pay their salaries at the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, founded by Mayfield, who has since resigned.
The men’s initial court appearance is set for Jan. 4.
The indictments follow investigative reports by WWL-TV on Mayfield, who drew praise in the city for his musical artistry and his promotion of the city after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Their attorneys declined comment on the charges. However, Claude Kelly, Mayfield’s lawyer, said the timing of the indictment, days ahead of Christmas, was “mean-spirited.”
Noting that Mayfield’s father died when Katrina hit, he praised Mayfield’s work on charitable and education endeavors. “He’s been the face of the rebirth of the city,” Kelly said.
Prosecutors allege that in addition to orchestra operating expenses and salaries for Mayfield and Markham, foundation money went into Mayfield’s personal bank accounts and toward the purchase of a gold-plated trumpet. Prosecutors said the men also took steps to mislead the library foundation and others about their money transfers, including falsifying foundation board meeting minutes.