Peralta to seek re-election despite indictments, recall efforts

CHALMETTE, LA (WVUE) - Indicted St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta confirmed Wednesday that he will seek re-election next year, but there's a new push to keep that from happening.

Peralta has been indicted in two parishes - for sexual battery in St. Bernard and stalking in St. Tammany.

"With all the legal battles going on, I don't think he's fit to lead the parish," said Christian Serigne, who has come forward with a new petition drive to try and remove Peralta. "He hasn't stepped down, there's no lawsuits - somebody's got to do something."

Peter Rupp knows getting the required 8,500 signatures is tough.

"My petition never took off," he said.

Rupp started a petition drive on May 9 and has fallen about 4,000 signatures short. State law requires that the signatures be gathered within a month.

"The cost, we couldn't secure the funds," Rupp said, referring to a mailer campaign he felt was needed to promote the effort.

Now Rupp and Serigne will join forces to try and get enough signatures by the middle of 2015. It's a move Peralta says, is "part of the process."

Peralta declined our request for an on-camera interview, but he confirmed that he is running for re-election - a move that has made some more motivated than ever.

"We introduced two ordinances." said Parish Council Chairman Guy McInnis.

McInnis says Peralta is innocent until proven guilty, but he is backing new measures to limit Peralta's powers.

"One to put a moratorium on new hires, and one to put a moratorium on salary increases," said McInnis.

Peralta says he's looking into the legality of the council effort.

"I'm sure we're gonna be challenged," said McInnis.

But some say the council should do more.

"The council has an obligation to file a lawsuit and ask his judge to remove this man," said Rupp.

McInnis says the council doesn't have enough evidence to pursue a lawsuit seeking Peralta's removal, but they continue to explore their options.

Peralta is currently free on bond.

Three council members drew up a resolution calling for Peralta's resignation earlier this year, but Peralta says he's not guilty and will not step down.

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