METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) – Metairie attorney Robert Evans III announced today that he’s filing a petition to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni.
Evans announced the recall petition in a press release, just two days after Yenni told the Jefferson Parish Council he would not resign from office and one day after he agreed to stay away from Jefferson Parish public schools.
Yenni issued the following statement in response to the recall petition:
“I will abide by the will of the people. I have acknowledged my mistake, and I have taken full responsibility. I have also vowed to focus my attention on governing and meeting the demands that I am expected to meet. I have not violated my oath, nor have I abused or misused the power of my office. I have, in no way, given anyone cause to believe that I am not doing the job that I was elected to do. The incident at the center of this allegation is personal, and I was not Parish President at the time of the incident. There has been no misuse of tax dollars or public assets. I can hope the people of Jefferson will afford me the opportunity to prove that I will separate my personal challenge from my public responsibility, and that I can rise above this.”
Yenni admitted last week to exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a teenager in 2015 while he was the mayor of Kenner. He’s also been accused of offering the boy a job at the mayor’s office so they could spend more time together. The FBI has confirmed that it is investigating the text messages.
Although 17 is the legal age for sexual consent in Louisiana, there is a federal law that prohibits suggestive text messages to persons who are under the age of 18.
The Jefferson Parish Council, the Jefferson Parish sheriff and numerous other elected officials have called for Yenni’s resignation since he admitted to the allegations last week in a paid TV commercial. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has since said that Yenni is no longer allowed at Catholic school functions. Yenni reportedly sought the teenager after seeing him at a Jesuit High School function.
“Mr. Evans believes that Yenni’s … sexual texting … and other lewd suggestions … constitute outrageous, immoral and totally unacceptable behavior … Additionally, due to his exclusion of all school and youth-related activities, it is impossible for him to perform his job as parish president.”
Evans has 180 days to collect signatures from 33 percent of registered voters in Jefferson Parish. That’s about 95,000 signatures, according to Evans.
If he gets enough signatures, a recall election will go on the ballot.