A newly formed political action committee, headed by lawyer Jack Capella and financed in part by a super PAC supporting gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle, is behind some last-minute campaign mailers opposing Jefferson Parish presidency candidate Mike Yenni and Parish Council hopeful Louis Congemi ahead of Saturday’s elections.
Capella — also president of Georges Enterprises, which owns The Advocate — formed the one-member “Join the People PAC” on Oct. 7. Its reported donations include $150,000 from the Louisiana Rising PAC, which backs state Public Service Commissioner Angelle in the race to succeed Gov. Bobby Jindal; $50,000 from the campaign fund of retiring state Sen. David Heitmeier, D-Algiers; and money from companies with ties to Georges Enterprises’ business interests.
The first Join the People mailer that caught the attention of Jefferson-based political players was one on Thursday urging folks to vote the PAC’s ballot. Headed by Angelle, the ticket includes at-large Jefferson Parish Councilman Elton Lagasse in the parish president’s race also involving Yenni, Kenner’s mayor since 2010.
The ticket further endorsed at-large Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts in a three-way race also involving Congemi, a former parish councilman and Kenner mayor. And, in the race for an open Metairie-based Parish Council seat, the PAC is backing Mike Thomas, a longtime aide to Capella’s brother Tom, the parish assessor and a former Parish Council member.
Join the People followed up Friday with an attack mailer asserting that Congemi was “a train wreck” while serving as Kenner’s mayor from 1996 to 2003 and on the Parish Council from 2004 to 2012. It said he could not complete his tenure in either role without being cited by the state agency that monitors the spending of public money.
Another Join the People attack mailer Friday asserted that, under Yenni, businesses are fleeing both Kenner and its most important shopping center, the Esplanade Mall, at such a fast rate that the city is “a virtual ghost town.”
Congemi has defended his record as Kenner’s mayor and a Parish Council member.
He’s said he helped boost constituents’ quality of life in both roles, such as with a beautification project that planted thousands of trees across Kenner and by pushing for a dog park, splash park and other improvements at Lafreniere Park in Metairie after it was closed for months after Hurricane Katrina.
Yenni, meanwhile, recently released a statement listing 27 new establishments he said have opened in Kenner while he’s been mayor, such as Target, the At Home decor store, the Grand Theatre Esplanade, a car dealership and a number of restaurants.
Capella did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday. Prior to becoming the president of Georges Enterprises in 2005, he spent 12 years in the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office and was appointed interim DA in 1996 after John Mamoulides retired.
Capella lost an election later that year to Paul Connick, who remains Jefferson’s DA to this day.