Kenner Councilman under question about his take home car - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Kenner Councilman under question about his take home car

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Kenner, La. - Mayor Mike Yenni says there are only about 8 take home cars for the city of Kenner.

"The only 3 elected officials that have them now are myself, Chief Caraway and Councilman Carroll," says Mayor Mike Yenni.

According to the city ordinance, elected officials are provided with either a 500 dollar a month expense allowance or a take home vehicle.

Councilman Gregory Carroll is the only councilman who elected to receive the take home car.

"He called me probably in the beginning of 2012 and asked for the use of a car for a few months because he was going to be purchasing a new vehicle. His vehicle was somehow totaled and he asked for a vehicle in leu of an allowance that all council members are given. I absolutely accommodated the councilman. Apparently, it was longer than a couple of months, " says Yenni.

Mayor Yenni says he thought the councilman was using the take home car until he could purchase a new personal vehicle, but more than a year later, it came to his attention that the Kenner City car had never been turned in.

The Mayor's office also received information that the councilman was using the city owned vehicle to drive to his second job with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

"They told me apparently it looks like this vehicle spends as much time in the City of New Orleans as it does in the City of Kenner," says Yenni.

Since last year, the tax payers of Kenner have footed the bill for the gas and maintenance of the silver Crown Victoria.

FOX 8 obtained a copy of that report which shows since March of 2012 until April of this year, Councilman Carroll charged more than 2 thousand dollars for gas.

Maintenance on the vehicle cost another 2 thousand.

"Anybody that has a take home vehicle gets deducted at the end of the year for personal use as per the IRS guidelines," says Yenni.

Mayor Yenni, though, says because the Finance Department had no idea that Councilman Carroll was using the vehicle to go to work in New Orleans, he doesn't believe the money was ever deducted at the end of the year.

Then in January, Councilman Carroll seemed to have a mishap with his car parked under the Broad St. overpass in front of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

"He called our fleet management department and said there was an issue with the car. Our Fleet Department, not knowing, sent one of our wreckers down there and according to the invoice he was stuck on a curb or the corner of a curb," says Yenni.

FOX 8 obtained a copy of that invoice from the Rock and Roll Wrecker Service, which states that it cost $82.50 to tow the Crown Victoria.

"To me it's a misappropriation of funds," says Yenni.

"I had an opportunity to work with a population that is important to me and dear to me, not only for the City of New Orleans but for the City of Kenner," says Councilman Carroll.

Carroll says he believes his job with the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office as an employment specialist, benefits the City of Kenner.

His job description is to assist probation and parolees.

"Because we all have the Greater New Orleans concept of a metro area that we have to do. To keep myself in the City of Kenner would be inappropriate. It's inappropriate for me to use the car outside of my employment, but that is not the case," says Carroll.

Councilman Carroll doesn't believe he's doing anything wrong.

The Kenner City Attorney says, according to Article 7, Section 14 of the State Constitution, Carroll is violating a state law by using a public resource for personal use.

Mayor Yenni believes it's unethical.

"I've asked my City Attorney what I can do. Basically, I can request to him to please reimburse the city for the large portion of that fuel use and for the monetary use of the car and it's my recommendation that he should turn the car in and take the allowance and do what he needs to do on his own," says Yenni.

Councilman Carroll didn't say if he would return the car and take the monthly allowance instead.

He would only say, he'll do what's best for the citizens of Kenner and the people he represents.

Mayor Yenni says he's notified the State Attorney General's Office, the Inspector General and the Justice Department.

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