A day after Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts was named in a lawsuit seeking to disqualify him from his re-election bid in the Oct. 24 primary, a similar suit was filed Wednesday against one of his two challengers, former Kenner Mayor Louis Congemi.
The plaintiff in the suit, Jefferson Parish School Board member Ray St. Pierre, accused Congemi of not being up-to-date with his campaign finance reports when he signed up to run last week. Under state law, that is grounds for disqualification.
A lawsuit filed Tuesday alleged that Roberts was not up-to-date with his campaign finance reports when he signed up to run last week.
St. Pierre’s lawsuit cited the fact that Congemi told The New Orleans Advocate on March 10 that he was running for a council seat in the fall primary. On April 13, Congemi said he was running for one of the two at-large seats on the council.
Congemi, a former Parish Council member, didn’t announce to the news media that he was specifically running for Roberts’ seat until last month.
Yet St. Pierre’s lawsuit argues that Congemi became a candidate for a major political office when he spoke to the newspaper and that he therefore was required to file campaign finance disclosure reports in late April and July.
State records show Congemi did not do that, though he certified that he had filed every report required by campaign finance rules when he signed up last week. That should result in his disqualification, according to St. Pierre’s lawsuit.
St. Pierre declined Wednesday to comment on the lawsuit, saying he would let it speak for itself. No court date for a hearing on the suit had been set as of Wednesday evening.
The lawsuit challenging Roberts’ candidacy is set to be heard Monday.
Roberts and Congemi are both Republicans. The third candidate in the race is Jimmy Lawson, a Democrat from Gretna who once served on the Parish Council as well.
The state Ethics Administration on Tuesday moved to disqualify Scarlett Alaniz — the sole challenger to District 4 Jefferson Parish Councilman Ben Zahn — over fines that she indicated she had paid last week but didn’t pay until Monday. The fines were for filing campaign finance reports late when she ran for Kenner City Council in 2014. That challenge also will be heard Monday in 24th Judicial District Court.
If the lawsuits against Roberts, Congemi and Alaniz all eventually succeed, Lawson and Zahn would win their respective races unopposed.