Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.
Metairie attorney Robert Evans, who spearheaded the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni earlier this year, is now launching a new movement he calls "Defeat Yenni," targeting those he sees as Yenni's political allies — specifically Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn.
Evans has sent a letter to a selected list of registered voters in Jefferson Parish, asking for their support. "I am writing to you to once again ask for your support in making sure that Parish President Mike Yenni does not get re-elected," the letter reads, adding, "Wherever, a Yenni ally seeks election or re-election, I will advocate the defeat of that ally to weaken Yenni’s attempted re-election effort. The next election of a pro-Yenni ally is the re-election campaign of Mayor Ben Zahn of Kenner. Qualifying for that election is just 9 months from now. This summer, I will begin a Defeat Yenni campaign focused on exposing every connection that has existed and still exists between Mike Yenni, Ben Zahn and other allies to keep the public informed."
Evans' earlier petition recall effort ended in March, when the recall committee had gathered only about half the 90,000 signatures needed to force a ballot referendum.
After WWL-TV broke the story last fall that Yenni had sent sexually graphic text messages to a then 17-year-old gay man, in addition to buying him underwear and attempting to kiss him in a mall bathroom, Yenni issued a blanket apology on video without addressing many of the specific allegations except the text messages.
"I chose to send improper texts to a young man," he said. "I won't go into details out of respect for the rights and privacy of all parties. I made a bad decision. I regret my actions." At his first appearance before the Jefferson Parish Council after the scandal broke, Yenni once again was contrite, but made it clear he wouldn't step down. "My personal life has been invaded, but I shall not let my professional life be invalidated," Yenni said. "But now it is my job to lead our parish forward, and I humbly ask you to let me do this job." (The council unanimously cast a vote of no confidence in Yenni's leadership, but has no power to remove him from office.)
Evans says he plans to unveil a billboard next week on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Kenner in hopes of drawing further supporters.
Qualifying for the Kenner mayor's race will take place in spring 2018.