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Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn used city employees, trucks to deliver equipment to star's far-off festivals

Zahn faces new questions about how he deployed city employees and equipment for actor John Schneider's annual Bo’s Extravaganza.

David Hammer / Eyewitness Investigator

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Published: 10:22 PM CDT May 6, 2022
Updated: 10:30 PM CDT May 6, 2022

Outgoing Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn directed city employees to deliver city equipment free of charge to a privately run festival more than 40 miles away in Livingston Parish, interviews and city records show.

Zahn declined interview requests, but a Kenner spokesperson said the city got a promotional benefit for providing tents and barricades for "Bo’s Extravaganza," an annual birthday bash in Livingston Parish for Zahn’s friend, actor, movie director and musician John Schneider.

However, an ethics attorney who reviewed WWL-TV's reporting said Zahn should not have provided free public equipment and employee labor for Schneider’s private interests. And Zahn’s critics dispute that Kenner citizens could see any benefit from donating labor and equipment for an event more than an hour’s drive away.

It’s the latest controversy surrounding Zahn’s use of public resources. He was soundly defeated in his re-election bid in March, and the loss was fueled by contentious debates over the city budget, a vendor’s lawsuit alleging that Zahn had engaged in backroom dealing over the city’s garbage collection contract and questions about massive overtime and emergency pay for Zahn’s top deputies in the wake of Hurricane Ida.

Zahn’s political fate was likely sealed in February, when the FBI served a subpoena at City Hall seeking payroll and other financial records.

But now, with less than two months left in office, Zahn faces questions about how he deployed city employees and equipment for Bo’s Extravaganza in April 2020 and April 2021.