Fortunato's wife takes leave as sheriff's race remains heated

Lopinto refuses to apologize for reporting alleged crime

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
August 14, 2019 - 4:31 pm

The wife of a candidate for Jefferson Parish Sheriff has abruptly left her job in Kenner.

"Deputy CAO, Kriss Fortunato is taking a leave of absence," the city of Kenner posted to its website.

John Fortunato is challenging incumbent Sheriff Joe Lopinto.

Mrs. Fortunato had been serving as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer under Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn.

The site did not offer an explanation for her departure, but Zahn's office later issued the following statement:

Kenner, LA. – Kenner works closely with Sheriff Lopinto and needs to avoid any appearance of bias in the upcoming Sheriff’s race.

Our Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, the wife of Johnny Fortunato, will be taking a leave of absence to support her husband while my administration focuses on moving the City’s business forward.

The leave is effective today.

Meanwhile John Fortunato is calling upon Joe Lopinto to publicly apologize "for his irresponsible behavior."

In a Facebook post Fortunato says, "Lopinto is intentionally misleading the public."

It comes a week after Lopinto announced he called the FBI amid allegations that people acting on Fortunato's behalf tried to bribe the sheriff.

Lopinto reported getting a pair of phone call offers that Fortunato would not run against him if he supported Fortunato's bid to become Causeway police chief.

Lopinto says he will not apologize for doing his job, and "reporting potential crime in progress."

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