District D Councilman Jared Brossett almost has as much cash on hand in his campaign account than all the other council members combined. Brossett, who is term limited and expected to run for an at-large City Council position later this year, reported $103,471.61 in available dollars on his 2020 annual campaign finance report, which was filed last week.
The other five City Council members (excluding newly appointed at-large member Donna Glapion) show a total of approximately $116,000 in available dollars.
Brossett started 2020 with $102,178 in the bank and took in $1,750 during the year. Though his only donation in 2020 was to St. Augustine Church, Brossett’s 2019 expenditures included Biden for President, Kamala Harris for the People, JBE for Louisiana Leadership PAC and the McDonogh 35 Alumni Association.
In 2019 and 2020, Brossett’s biggest donors include Liberty Bank President Alden McDonald, attorney James Williams, the Motwani family, the Helis Foundation, Eli Khoury’s Southeast Restaurant Group and Chase Catering & Concessions, which operates a restaurant at the Armstrong International Airport. Brossett previously chaired the council’s Transportation and Airport Committee and is still a member.
District A Councilman Joe Giarrusso has the second largest war chest with $67,951.50. Though he received four donations in 2020, Giarrusso enjoys a large number of previous contributors he can tap, including Paul and Donna Flower, Darryl Berger, the Wrong Iron beer garden, the Velvet Cactus as well as lawyers Morris Bart, Blake Jones, Darleen Jacobs-Levy and the Stanley Reuter law firm. Giarrusso made donations to Children’s Hospital, Temple Sinai, the Carrollton Holly Grove Senior Center and Friends of the Lafitte Greenway.
District B Councilman Jay Banks took in $25,000 in contributions in 2020 by way of two separate donations, one for $20,000 and another for $5,000. The source of both donations was identified as “TBA, TDBA, New Orleans, LA 70119.” Campaign finance laws require that donors’ names and addresses be listed on campaign finance reports. There is also a contribution limit of $2,500 per donor per election.
Banks shows $13,368.27 cash on hand as well as two outstanding loans. His 2019 contributors include the late Norma Jane Sabiston, Keith Hardie, Marcel Wisznia, Circular Consulting and a half dozen engineering firms.
In 2019, dues to the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club were among the expenditures. Banks served as King Zulu in 2016 and is on Zulu’s Board of Directors. Banks also charged off dues to Omega Psi Phi fraternity, the Prince Hall Mason’s Acacia Lodge 248 and the Mystic Krewe of Louisiana in 2019.
District C Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer reported $19,736.5 cash on hand including two small donations in 2020. She distributed $10,000 to Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association, the Hispanic Chamber, NOMA and Judge Nandi Campbell, who successfully ran for office last year. Palmer also funded the purchase of socks for the homeless in response to a request from constituent Kenny Garrett. Her major donors include the Herman Herman & Katz law firm, Tony Gelderman, Eli Khoury, the Williams Law Group and Darryl Berger.
District E Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen did not raise any funds in 2020 and only reported $4,616.44 cash on hand. She spent more than $3,000 in 2020 on gas, food and charitable donations. Her top contributors include Adams & Reese, Air Products and TKTMJ, a service disabled-veteran-owned construction company.
City Council President Helena Moreno finished 2020 with $10,353.07 in the bank after having received one campaign contribution and selling her slightly used legislative office furniture to state Rep. Polly Thomas.
Moreno’s 2019 donors include many New Orleans’ top business leaders such as Ralph Brennan, Margaret Beer, Richard Farrell, Brian Gibbs, Jay Lapeyre, Bob Merrick, Poco Sloss, Whit Huguley and James Favret. Insiders say Moreno will have no trouble raising money in 2021 and could even self-fund her re-election campaign. She also supported the candidacy of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and was Harris’ Louisiana co-chair.
CANTRELL PAYS IMAGE CONSULTANT $90,500 IN 2019 AND 2020
Meanwhile, Mayor Latoya Cantrell paid $51,500 to Tanya Haynes of Gretna in 2020 and $39,000 to Haynes in 2019. Haynes was listed as an image consultant on Cantrell’s 2019 report and as a consultant on the 2020 report.
According to Haynes’ Linked-In profile, she is the owner of Friends Salon hair salon and Taste This! sno-ball stand in New Orleans’ Seabrook neighborhood. Haynes’ profile also lists her as the beauty and health educator for Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale. A Femme Fatale official said Haynes presented two talks on fashion to krewe members but does not belong to the organization.
Haynes was not the only image consultant employed by Cantrell in 2019. She also paid $7,950 to Erica Warren and gave Warren another $11,500 in 2020. Of the $156,927 collected by Cantrell in 2020, she paid $132,000, 84.5% of every dollar raised, to her eight consultants and campaign staff.
Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Councilman Jared Brossett, City Councilwoman at-large Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, former Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former City Councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. She is a member of the Democratic Parish Executive Committee. Columbus can be reached at email@example.com.