Spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser quits, says 'it was not a comfortable environment' _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Former Jefferson Parish public information officer Kriss Fortunato holds the U.S. flag on a windy opening of the newly redesigned Family Gras site across form Lakeside Mall on the Veterans Boulevard neutral ground in Metairie, La. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.

About three months after taking office, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser lost his top communications aide.

Kriss Fairbairn Fortunato said she resigned from her post as Nungesser’s communications director, effective immediately, last Monday.

“It was not a comfortable environment and not a good fit,” Fortunato said, calling it a personal decision.

She added that she grew tired of the extensive travel required for the job, and wants to concentrate on building up her private communications firm.

Fortunato quit a week before The Advocate published a story about how her former boss worked with state GOP Chairman Roger Villere to recruit a far-fetched oil trade deal involving Iraq. In the process, Nungesser signed letters, invoking Gov. John Bel Edwards’ name, while never actually informing the governor of his plans.

Fortunato said her resignation had nothing to do with the business arrangements.

“I had no knowledge of that until after the fact,” she said. “It was constructed and carried out outside of the communications office and without my knowledge.”

Fortunato previously worked as Jefferson Parish government’s public information officer, hired by former Parish President John Young.

She’s also a well known face in the New Orleans metro area for her years as an anchor at WDSU-TV.


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