08/23/2013 (press release: spirits) // Kenner , LA, United States // Arita Bohannan
In a Jefferson Parish Courtroom, case number 699-095, Division “E”, both the First Amendment and the Public Records Act were under attack when Maria Defrancesch, the City of Kenner District 4 Councilwoman, filed a civil lawsuit against her political opponent, Arita M. L. Bohannan, after she did a public records request to the Jefferson Parish School Board during their 2010 Campaign. The matter went to trial on August 21st, 2013 with judgment rendered in favor of her opponent, Arita M. L. Bohannan, the morning of August 22nd, 2013.
“This is a victory for the 1st Amendment and the people of Kenner, and a blow against the Kenner Political Machine,” Bohannan said.
The Court denied Maria Defrancesch’s attempt to hold her opponent civilly liable for receiving records via a legitimate public records request. As to the status of the records, Bohannan testified that the records were subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office where she believes they are investigating payroll fraud. “With the local political climate, I am hoping they continue to devote resources to cleaning up Kenner,” she said.
The Court found that Mrs. Bohannan made a legal public records request, clearly identifying that she only sought those records which were public. It further found that the four documents used by the Bohannan campaign in a mailer were not medical records, did not reference medical records, and contained information that was otherwise available to the public. It also found that the contents of the mailer were technically accurate.
In response to the judgment, Arita M. L. Bohannan said, “I am up front and outspoken on Kenner governmental issues which, quite frankly, is not appreciated by our Mafioso style elected officials. Being the target of their bitter and frequently brutal attacks is a cross I can bear in an effort to help Kenner, where my husband and I are raising my boys, own our businesses and have made our home.”