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Kenner Council casts ‘No Confidence’ vote for Mayor Zahn

Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 6:18 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Kenner city council gave a vote of no confidence to the administration of Mayor Ben Zahn, after a series of Fox 8 Lee Zurik investigations into spending after Hurricane Ida.

Those reports centered on payments to the deputy CAO, as well as to the city’s waste contractor.

With the FBI now involved in allegations of post-storm misspending in Kenner council patience is wearing thin.

“I don’t feel I’m getting the truth..a lot of smoke and mirrors, it sounds good but it’s not honestly the truth,” said councilmember Kristi McKinney.

Deputy CAO Chad Pitfield was fired after a Zurik report showing he earned $86,000 in disaster pay following Hurricane Ida and councilmembers debated for nearly 2 hours a resolution of no confidence in the administration of the mayor.

“The handling of the lawsuit with Fox 8, where we ended up having to pay attorney fees for not producing public records request is alarming to me,” said Councilmember George Branigan. He also criticized the Zahn administration for $28 million in emergency spending which Fema has not reimbursed. He says that’s 1/3 of the city’s budget.

“There is a culture in the city right now, it’s FEMA’s money and it doesn’t matter...it does matter but it’s not for you and your friends to get rich off of,” said Stacey Allesandro. '

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Questions were also raised about the recent Lee Zurik investigation examining thousands of dollars in spending to the city’s garbage contractor IV waste and trucks recently purchased for city administrators.

Though most of the meeting was spent criticizing spending under Zahn, several councilmembers abstained from the ‘no confidence’ vote saying they all share the blame.

“I do owe you an apology. I didn’t do the job I should’ve done. I am going to abstain because we’re just as guilty as the administration,” said councilmember Glenn Hayes.

In the end, the council resolution of ‘No Confidence’ in the Zahn administration passed with 4 votes and 3 abstentions.

“I’m going to work with these people. ‘No Confidence,’ that’s their opinion and everyone’s entitled to their opinion let’s leave it up to the people of the city of Kenner as to what they want to do,” said Zahn.

“What you all are doing with our tax dollars as an American this is not why we pay taxes, to have it squandered,” said Allesandro.

The council voted to remove compliance officer Adam Campo from the ‘No Confidence’ resolution. He said he had nothing to do with the allegations of my spending now being investigated by the FBI.

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