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Cyber Attack, Hard Rock Collapse Costing City Millions

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The partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel building as seen from Rampart Street. (Infrogmation of New Orleans/Flickr)

Lawmakers in New Orleans have gotten an update on two costly disasters that won’t be resolved for several months — the very visible October hotel construction site collapse on Canal Street and the December covert cyber attack on city computers.

The city is now estimating computer damage at $7 million. But that could change when evidence is reviewed this summer.

Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer said the public should know that the one-stop permit service at City Hall is still not fully functional — and housing projects are severely delayed.

“They need to bring all of these documentations in because people are wasting entire days at City Hall when they, you know, have plumbers, electricians, etc. waiting on a job," she said.

City Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano said records are backlogged because data lost in the December attack still needs to be re-entered.

Meanwhile, the Hard Rock Hotel site remains unstable and awaits demolition and removal. The tab is now more than $11 million. Cost outlines range from $1 million for 24/7 monitoring by the fire department to $433 for earplugs and respirators. It’s still unclear how much the city will recover from insurance from private parties involved.

“This is an incident that was created by private parties and those private parties should bear the responsibility of resolving the issue," City Attorney Sunni LeBeouf said. "And so that is the city’s expectation and that is absolutely the city’s demand."

The budget estimates will ultimately be reviewed by the full council.

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