Petition to recall Yenni begins as more leaders ask him to step down

Paul Murphy talks about the beginning of a recall effort against the parish president, and Yenni's response.

NEW ORLEANS -- The political walls appear to be closing in on embattled Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.

Yenni has admitted to sending inappropriate text messages to a 17-year-old-boy.

Wednesday, Metairie attorney Robert Evans, son of longtime JP Council Chairman Bob Evans, filed a petition with the Louisiana Secretary of State's office to recall Yenni.

A WWL-TV investigation also revealed that the boy claims Yenni gave him designer underwear and kissed him in a bathroom at Lakeside Shopping Center.

MORE: FBI looks into JP President Mike Yenni's allegedly explicit texts to young man

"His conduct is completely reprehensible," Evans said. "I felt an absolute moral necessity to take the action that I did today."

The recall effort comes as city leaders in Jefferson Parish pass resolutions calling for Yenni's resignation.

Westwego Mayor John Shaddinger also signed a resolution Wednesday approved by his city council, urging Yenni to step down.

Wednesday night, the Gretna City Council unanimously passed a similar measure.

"We feel as though he has put the cities and the parish in a position where it makes it difficult to work, Gretna Councilman At-Large Wayne Rau said.

Other parish leaders agreed.

"We don't want to have this cloud hanging over our head," Gretna Councilman Mark Miller said. "It's going to be difficult for the parish president to move on through all of these allegations.and the things he's admitted."

Evans said that he will need about 95,000 signatures to force a recall election where voters would decide whether Yenni should stay or go.

"Certainly, I will accept any contributions, but I've committed $100,000 of my own money to make sure we have the resources available to get it done," Evans said.

Evans now has 180 days to gather those signatures.

Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni released a statement in response to the recall effort:

"I will abide by the will of the people,” said Yenni in the statement. “I have acknowledged my mistake, and I have taken full responsibility.  I have also vowed to focus my attention on governing and meeting the demands that I am expected to meet.  I have not violated my oath, nor have I abused or misused the power of my office.  I have, in no way, given anyone cause to believe that I am not doing the job that I was elected to do.  The incident at the center of this allegation is personal, and I was not Parish President at the time of the incident.  There has been no misuse of tax dollars or public assets.  I can hope the people of Jefferson will afford me the opportunity to prove that I will separate my personal challenge from my public responsibility, and that I can rise above this."

 

(© 2016 WWL)


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