NEW ORLEANS -- District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has forwarded a criminal complaint against his preferred candidate for mayor to the state Attorney General.

Cannizzaro’s office asked the AG to field an anonymous complaint alleging Desiree Charbonnet claims an improper homestead exemption on a property where she doesn’t live and is not registered to vote, both of which are requirements for receiving the $7,500 property tax exemption.

An independent review by WWL-TV found evidence suggesting the complaint has no merit, however. The Orleans Parish assessor and Charbonnet’s ex-husband, Bryan Jefferson, both said that Jefferson remained as the primary resident after the couple divorced in 2011 and he, not Charbonnet, pays the taxes and receives the homestead exemption.

Cannizzaro’s first assistant sent the letter to the AG because Cannizzaro endorsed Charbonnet in the mayor’s race. He also employs her brother, Bernard “Bunny” Charbonnet, as a civil attorney.

For the same reasons, Cannizzaro’s office also forwarded a criminal complaint last week against Charbonnet’s opponent, LaToya Cantrell. That complaint alleged Cantrell, a city councilwoman, misused her city credit card for thousands of dollars in personal or campaign expenses.

Cannizzaro letter RE: Charbonnet on Scribd