Grammy Award-winning New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison along with his business partner Ronald Markham. A year ago, the two men admitted that they diverted over $1.3 million in New Orleans Public Library donations to their New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Mayfield used the money to pay for his salary along with personal luxuries, including limos, top-shelf liquor, 5-star hotels and a $15,000 gold-plated trumpet.
The two men were also ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution at $500 per month starting in the next 60 days to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation. Additionally, they must also give 500 hours of free music lessons to children.
Mayfield and Markham have until Jan. 5, 2022, to surrender to federal prison.
“To my city, community, friends, I hope you can accept my apology,” said Mayfield. “I take full responsibility.”
Judge Jay Zainey stated he felt the Mayfield deserved “more than five years” for what he did; however, it would be a waste of his talent and that “There’s no benefit to society of [Mayfield] going to jail any longer.”
During the sentencing hearing, Mayfield and Markham argued that they spent much of the transferred funds on Jazz Orchestra expenses, paying employees and building the New Orleans Jazz Market in Central City, but Judge Zainey struck down that down.
Emails uncovered by WWL-TV showed Markham rejecting a request for a regular donation to the city’s library system by claiming the foundation didn’t have the funds even when the two men were still making six figures.
Markham expressed remorse by saying, “I damaged and I hurt very good people, businesses and communities, and I’m willing and ready to invest my energy to the immediate work of restoring what I’ve damaged.”
After which, Judge Zainey said, “I have no sympathy toward Mr. Markham. He stole $1.3 million from the Library Foundation.”
The two men have already paid back the Library foundation $200,000, and the orchestra has agreed to play benefit concerts and pay $96,000 a year.
The $1.1 million still owed by Mayfield and Markham could take more than 90 years to pay back in full at $500 per month.
Watch a clip of Irvin Mayfield below:
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