Friday, February 3, 2017

Kenner Pays Almost $450k To Buisson’s JCVB To Do What It Should Do For Free


Now I will admit that, unlike Jefferson Parish’s Sexual Predator-In-Chief Mike Yenni (at least in his own warped, perverted mind), I’m not always the smartest guy in the room.

Sometimes, I’m not even the smartest guy in the room when I’m sitting alone.

But, I can read a map and the last time I looked, Kenner was firmly ensconced in Jefferson Parish.

Thus, you would think that groups like the Jefferson Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (JCVB) and JEDCO, Jefferson Parish’s Economic Development arm, that receive tax dollars from Jefferson Parish (including tax dollars from Kenner), would perform the functions of marketing and promoting Kenner without receiving additional compensation from the City.

But, since both are associated with Jefferson Parish’s Minister of Propaganda Greg Buisson, who happens to be the campaign manager for Yenni and Kenner’s new Mayor Lyin’ Ben Zahn (among others), each group is paid significantly for work that should be done for free.

Several years back, on the heels of a scandal involving the misappropriation of funding, Yenni disbanded the Kenner Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (KCVB).

In addition to membership fees (Lyin’ Ben was a member of the Board while a Councilmember appropriating funds to the KCVB), the group also received a percentage of Kenner’s Hotel/Motel tax.

Fine.

If the group wasn’t properly spending Kenner tax dollars, they shouldn’t receive them.

However, instead of forming  or finding another Kenner-centric group dedicated to promoting and marketing Kenner, Yenni ceded Kenner’s Hotel/Motel tax dollars to the JCVB, a group that has a significant relationship with the aforementioned Minister of Propaganda Buisson (and, remember, Yenni’s campaign manager).

From January 2015-December 2016, Kenner paid the JCVB $448,030.57 for the privilege of promoting Kenner, a role that they should do for ZERO dollars as part of their mission.

During the same period, the JCVB received over $2.8 Million from Jefferson Parish to promote and market Jefferson Parish, including the City of Kenner.

That $448k represents a significant increase over what the City of Kenner was paying the KCVB and will only continue to increase as more hotels are put online as part of the Armstrong Airport Expansion.

For its part, the JCVB has not offered the people of Kenner an accurate accounting of what exactly it spent the $448k on and how exactly it marketed/promoted Kenner tourism.

A rational mind, and, again, as I sit alone typing this, I’m probably not the most rational mind in this room either, would expect that, given the $448k that the JCVB received and is supposed to be spending to market Kenner AND the additional marketing dollars that were included when Yenni unilaterally extended the SMG contract to manage the Pontchartrain Center, that Kenner would be flush with conventioneers  and the Pontchartrain Center would be filled consistently with out-of-town visitors spending money in Kenner retail shops, restaurants, gas stations, etc.

That however, is clearly not the case.

Aside from a blip in November, Kenner’s sales tax revenue has consistently declined.

Yet, the City of Kenner continues to pay more and more to Buisson’s JCVB with little in quantifiable results.

During the same 2015-2016 time period, the JCVB paid Buisson Creative Strategies almost $164,000 in addition to the commissions Buisson received on the almost $27k in media ad spending placed through Buisson. Commissions paid to agencies like Buisson’s are typically in the 5-15% range.

Buisson earned additional money through his booking of acts for Family Gras and for services to other events related to Jefferson Parish Tourism or associated with the JCVB.

Clearly, Kenner could easily promote and market itself for less money (and more accountability) than it allocates to the JCVB.

Yes, the JCVB already has the infrastructure and manpower to promote Kenner, but, are they giving Kenner our fair share of time, money and resources or is a portion of our tax dollars just siphoned off the top and ending up in Greg Buisson’s money-grubbing pockets?

Like I said, it doesn’t take the smartest guy in the room, or even a Sexual Predator like Mike Yenni, to know the answer to that question.

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