As if passing out free food at a Public School to buy votes wasn’t brazen enough, now Jefferson Parish Sheriff candidate Johnny Fortunato is using tax dollars courtesy of JP District 3 Councilman Mark Spears to buy the votes and support of Senior Citizens.
Yesterday (3/8), Spears held a party for Senior Citizens at the Alario Center on the West Bank. Spears has held “Senior Parties” in the past although usually at Christmas. These parties feature Spears passing out gift cards and presents provided by area businesses as door prizes to attendees.
It’s just like the old scam of providing hot dogs and drinks (along with a “Sample Ballot”) as you drive voters to the polls and “casually” mentioning that the hot dogs came from a politician.
Many businesses have complained about the “Annual Spears Shakedown” and the fact that many gift cards “just happen” to end up in the pockets of Spears’ family and friends. Of course, no business owner will go on the record to confirm these allegations for fear of retaliation from Spears or JP Government.
Now Spears has taken his Senior Parties to a whole new political level by featuring Fortunato as the “Keynote Speaker” at yesterday’s event.
The problem is Spears pays for these parties not from his own pocket or his campaign account. This party (which essentially was a Fortunato Campaign Rally with gift cards and other door prizes) was paid for by YOU – the taxpayers of Jefferson Parish.
Two resolutions authored and authorized by Spears appeared on the Council Addendum Agenda at the February 21st meeting and call for the payment of a total of $13,774 to Messina’s Catering to provide the food for the party/campaign rally.
That’s $13,774 of YOUR TAX DOLLARS.
It’s not the first time that Spears, who has ties to Fortunato’s Campaign Manager Greg Buisson, has used YOUR TAX DOLLARS to promote Fortunato’s candidacy.
In December, Spears allocated $50,000 from his District Account (again – YOUR TAX DOLLARS) to a Christmas Parade promoted by the New Orleans-based NOMTOC Carnival Krewe. The parade was held December 9th in Marrero. Fortunato, along with his wife, former TV talking head and current City of Kenner Deputy CAO Kriss Fairbairn Fortunato, rode in the parade passing out Christmas presents like a modern day Santa Clause.
I wonder how many businesses were involved in the shakedown so Fortunato could hand out toys on a parade route.
Kriss Fortunato is a political appointee of Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn. Zahn is also a client of Buisson, Buisson's clients also include Jefferson Parish’s Sexual Predator-in-Chief Mike Yenni, and several JP and Kenner Councilmen.
Look, if you want to hold a “Senior Party” or a Parade or any other event that is politically related, use your own money or even your campaign money and report it on your campaign finance report. Isn’t that why we have a State Ethics Board?
But, don’t use Taxpayer Dollars to further your political career, help other candidates or as a conduit to funnel money to a Campaign Manager (Yes, Greg Buisson, I’m talking about you).
Because, if you do, you know I’m going to have to write about it.
And I know you don't want that..