KENNER, La. - Former New Orleans Councilman Jon Johnson turned himself in to the Kenner Police Department on Friday for allegedly stealing a rental car before Hurricane Katrina.
He was booked with failing to return a leased vehicle, according to the Kenner Police Department.
"He and his family evacuated to Baton Rouge in their own car. They dropped off the rental car. There was nobody there, everybody had closed down. He drops off his rental car and goes about his business," said Julian Murray, Johnson's attorney.
On August 21, 2005, Johnson rented a 2005 Chevy Classic from Vanguard Car Rental in Kenner, police said. The car was supposed to be returned on September 8 of that year.
Kenner Police Lt. Wayne McInnis says if Johnson returned the car, there was never any record of it. He also says Johnson failed to answer a registered letter from the rental car company, seeking information about the vehicle.
"It came back, not signed by Mr. Johnson basically the vehicle was never returned. It never showed up at the rental car agency," said McInnis.
Murray maintains Johnson never got the letter and had no idea there was a warrant out for his attest. "Whether this car got flooded, whether it was stolen by somebody else, we don't know," said Murray.
By December 5, 2005, the $18,178 car had not been returned, according to police.
"He said all I know is I didn't keep the car. I didn't take the car. I turned it in," said Murray.
"The rent-a-car agency says they never got it," said McInnis.
The rental company sent a letter to Johnson’s Deslonde Street address that demanded the return of the vehicle.
While the car remained missing, the company contacted police and a warrant was issued for Johnson’s arrest on January 12, 2006.
He was transferred to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on Friday morning and later released on a $5,000 commercial bond.