Mike Yenni recall effort fails

METAIRIE, La. – Organizers of the Recall Mike Yenni effort have conceded that they will not have the number of signatures needed to hold a recall election for the embattled Jefferson parish president.

Attorney Robert Evans III, the leader of the recall group, said he and volunteers spent six months and $120,000 trying to collect the 95,000 signatures needed for a recall election to occur.

“Given we still have people calling to volunteer every day, I didn’t think it was fair to have people taking time away from their families and businesses to continue walking the streets collecting signatures,” said Evans. “I’ve spent more than I said I was going to spend, committed countless hours and could not be more inspired by the efforts of all our volunteers and the voters of Jefferson Parish who supported this effort, but I cannot in good conscience have people pursuing this effort when we know time and funding is against us.”

Yenni has been under pressure to resign since news broke in October that he exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a 17-year-old boy.

The Jefferson Parish Council passed a vote of no confidence in Yenni, and the parish president agreed to suspend all visits to Jefferson Parish public schools in the wake of the scandal.

Yenni admitted to the explicit messages and apologized publicly and on paid television ads, but he refused to step down.

“The people of Jefferson Parish have been betrayed by Mike Yenni and have now been betrayed by a system that should allow voters the ability to hold elected officials accountable,” Evans said. “As a father and proud resident of Jefferson Parish, I expect our highest office to be an asset to us all and not an embarrassment. And, while I will not be continuing the recall effort, I will support the fight to have the recall laws changed and encourage all voters to tell their Louisiana State Representatives and Senators to do the same.”

Yenni responded to the recall effort ending by sending a statement Friday afternoon.

“I have never let the recall effort nor any politically-orchestrated campaigns against me distract me from doing the job I was elected to do,” Yenni said. “We are continuing to fulfill goals and look toward the future of Jefferson. I am obviously pleased the recall chapter is closed, but truly the news doesn’t impact how I will continue to govern.”