Kenner's interim mayor told Councilman Keith Reynaud this week that the councilman can no longer speak directly with municipal employees or their bosses, citing a series of incidents in which Reynaud and his wife are accused of harassing or intimidating government workers, largely in spats over the placement of political signs.

Reynaud and his wife, Dona, deny the accusations, claiming that Kenner officials are trying to block Reynaud from being able to serve his constituents because he ran for mayor against Jefferson Parish Councilman Ben Zahn, who was supported by many Kenner politicians in Tuesday's primary. Zahn led the five-candidate field; Reynaud finished fourth. 

The couple said they plan to hire an attorney to explore whether Reynaud can legally be singled out to lose a privilege all other council members still have, and whether the couple should pursue a defamation case against some city officials.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Interim Mayor Michael Sigur outlined several instances in which he said the Reynauds hounded city employees or their supervisors.

City law bars council members from directing the work of municipal employees, though mayors typically allow council members to speak directly with department heads.

Sigur said that in September, Keith and Dona Reynaud used their cars to box in a property code enforcement employee named Glenn Sclafini on the side of the road. Dona Reynaud had followed Sclafini and used her phone to record him picking up a sign advertising her husband's mayoral campaign, officials said. 

Sclafini apparently believed the sign was illegally placed, and even though he put it back, Dona Reynaud accused him of being biased against her husband. Keith Reynaud then demanded that Sclafini call his supervisors to the scene to explain what had happened, Sigur said.

An internal investigation cleared Sclafini of any wrongdoing, Sigur said. Sclafini later filed a report about the encounter with the Kenner Police Department, which declined to take any action against the Reynauds.

Sigur also said Keith Reynaud grew "irate" in July because code enforcement officials wouldn't remove one of Zahn's signs from the rear fence of a home at the northwest corner of Power Boulevard and West Esplanade Avenue.

Kenner law prohibits such placards from being posted more than two months before an election — but it turns out the fence in question was a few feet outside the city limits, making it legal, Sigur said.

Sigur's letter also accused Dona Reynaud of pulling up next to a pair of code enforcement employees last month and rummaging through their truck, telling them she was looking for missing political signs.

Both Reynaud and his wife said Sigur's version of events contained numerous inaccuracies, and that his decision will impede the councilman's ability to serve his constituents in District 3, which covers northeastern Kenner. 

Sigur, however, said he had no choice but to order Reynaud's office to direct all requests to city employees through the acting mayor or his top aides.

The mayor said he waited to send the letter until the last moments of the primary campaign to avoid affecting Reynaud's chances.

Zahn will face City Councilman Gregory Carroll in a runoff Dec. 10. The winner will complete the term expiring in 2018 that was left vacant when Mayor Mike Yenni resigned in January to become president of Jefferson Parish. 

"These actions indicate some sort of animosity from you and your wife toward city employees," Sigur wrote in his letter to Reynaud. "Kenner prides itself on providing a ... work place ... where (employees) can work free from threats, intimidation and harassment."

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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