New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell accused of having affair with head of her security detail

Embattled New Orleans mayor is having an ‘ongoing adulterous affair’ with her police bodyguard, his wife claims in divorce filing – he has been put on leave after spending hours alone with her in city-owned apartment while on duty

  • New Orleans’ mayor is accused of having a years-long affair with her bodyguard
  • The affair became public after the bodyguard’s wife filed for divorce
  • The mayor is currently fighting investigations into her extravagant trips 
  • The bodyguard has also been suspended from her detail pending an investigation

The embattled mayor of New Orleans is now accused of having an ‘ongoing adulterous affair’ with the former head of her police detail who has since been suspended due to an investigation into irregularities relating to his pay. 

The latest allegations came to light after the wife of New Orleans’ police detective Jeffrey Vappie, 50, amended her divorce petition to claim that her estranged husband was involved in a sexual relationship with a woman named only as ‘Mrs. L.C.’

Multiple media outlets in the area have confirmed that ‘Mrs. L.C.’ is the city’s mayor LaToya Cantrell, 50. Cantrell became the first woman elected as mayor of New Orleans in 2018. She is currently battling a recall effort amid numerous financial scandals. 

Vappie’s wife, Danielle, alleges that her husband and the mayor have been carrying on the affair since May 2021, the same month that he began working on Cantrell’s detail. 

Since 2022, Fox New Orleans have broadcast numerous videos showing Mayor Latoya Cantrell and her bodyguard Jeffrey Vappie going into a city-owned apartment together

Since 2022, Fox New Orleans have broadcast numerous videos showing Mayor Latoya Cantrell and her bodyguard Jeffrey Vappie going into a city-owned apartment together

Jeffrey Vappie's wife, Danielle, shown here, is a school principal in New Orleans, she claims her estranged husband admitted to her that he was having an affair

Jeffrey Vappie’s wife, Danielle, shown here, is a school principal in New Orleans, she claims her estranged husband admitted to her that he was having an affair

Danielle made the changes to her divorce application this month. Last year, Fox New Orleans reported that Vappie spent more than five hours of his workday with Cantrell in a publicly owned apartment in the city’s Upper Pontalba section. 

Following those reports, Vappie found himself under investigation over the hours he was alleged to be clocking in. In January 2022, he was also accused of spending $916 for a single night in a hotel room in Washington DC. 

In addition, he’s believed to have traveled with her to a party in Los Angeles for a dinner that included Brad Pitt among the guests. He also accompanied her on a trip to Scotland. 

Since October 2021, Cantrell’s decision to bring security on trips has cost taxpayers more than $50,000, Fox 8 News calculated. 

Vappie also spent 112 hours at her apartment over a 27 day stretch, and was even seen watering her plants

The station reports that Vappie confessed about the affair to his wife. The couple has been living apart since November 2022.  At the time of writing, Vappie is no longer on the mayor’s detail.

Accordin to a study from Fox New Orleans, Vappie spent 112 hours at Cantrell's apartment over a 27 day stretch, and was even seen watering her plants

Accordin to a study from Fox New Orleans, Vappie spent 112 hours at Cantrell’s apartment over a 27 day stretch, and was even seen watering her plants

The station reports that Vappie confessed about the affair to his wife, pictured here

The station reports that Vappie confessed about the affair to his wife, pictured here

Mayor Latoya Cantrell pictured with her husband, Jason, she has not made any statements about her the status of her marriage

Mayor Latoya Cantrell pictured with her husband, Jason, she has not made any statements about her the status of her marriage

Vappie has been a detective with the City of New Orleans PD since 1997, according to his LinkedIn page. In 2020, he received a Master’s in Government Administration. 

His wife Danielle is the Chief Academic Officer at Einstein Charter Schools in New Orleans. According to the school’s website, Danielle is the principal. 

She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana. Danielle is also a US Army veteran, serving between 1988 and 2000. 

Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, told Fox New Orleans following the latest allegations that the revelations could result in ethical and criminal concerns for the pair. 

Goyeneche said that Vappie could be exposed if he’s found not to have been performing police duties while he was on the clock.

He said: ‘If he was on city time, padding his payroll. If he was malfeasant in office, he wasn’t performing his official assigned duties while he was with the mayor. Those are some potential state violations.’

Goyenche added that those alleged offenses could extend in federal territory regarding potential wire fraud and misuse of federal funds. He also said that it’s likely that investigators will want to speak to Vappie’s wife.  

Mayor Cantrell breaks ground in June 2021 at a construction project at the school where Denise Vappie is the principal, one month earlier, Jeffrey Vappie joined the mayor's detail

Mayor Cantrell breaks ground in June 2021 at a construction project at the school where Denise Vappie is the principal, one month earlier, Jeffrey Vappie joined the mayor’s detail

Vappie and the mayor are seen leaving the Upper Pontalba Building apartment together. But she has also been  pictured walking around the same area alone, sparking questions as to why she needs Vappie's services at all

Vappie and the mayor are seen leaving the Upper Pontalba Building apartment together. But she has also been  pictured walking around the same area alone, sparking questions as to why she needs Vappie’s services at all

Cantrell is married to lawyer Jason Cantrell. The couple has a daughter, RayAnn, together. Jason Cantrell is no longer mentioned on the mayor’s official biography page. The mayor last mentioned her husband on Twitter in June 2021 when she wished him a happy birthday.

In November 2022, it was reported that Cantrell upgraded hotel bookings to stay in king suites during trips she made to Washington DC and San Francisco in January and April of this year, potentially incurring costs of around $2,400.

A month earlier, Cantrell was required to pay back almost $30,000 to the city after violating its policy by upgrading her flights to first class and claiming initially that economy flights were unsafe for black women.

New Orleans city policy dictates that similar rules apply to upgrading hotel rooms.

The policy says: ‘Upgrades for hotel accommodations at the expense of the city are not permitted unless the hotel is unable to provide allowable accommodations at the time necessary to carry out the purpose of travel.

Hotel Washington in Washington DC where Cantrell spent nearly $2,500 on a king suite

Hotel Washington in Washington DC where Cantrell spent nearly $2,500 on a king suite 

The Hyatt Regency SOMA in San Francisco where Cantrell stayed and incurred a cost of nearly $2,000

The Hyatt Regency SOMA in San Francisco where Cantrell stayed and incurred a cost of nearly $2,000

When Cantrell traveled to San Francisco in April she stayed at the Hyatt Regency SOMA where she upgraded to a king suite that cost nearly $2,000, $800 more than other city employees.

Similarly, on a trip to DC in January she stayed at the Hotel Washington and again occupied a king suite.

When Cantrell went to Reno, Nevada, in June her room cost hundreds more than other city employees who traveled.

Head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission Rafael told Fox 8 News he believes the hotel upgrades are also a violation of city policy.  

Cantrell’s stylist – who she has paid $175,000 since 2017 – is also facing a possible criminal probe over the thousands she’s spent on clothes for the lawmaker.

In recent months her administration has been dogged by allegations of misuse of funds and resources – with the Democrat leader even complaining to the Society for Professional Journalists about the scrutiny.

The journalist body found the investigations were ‘entirely appropriate and journalistically ethical.’

‘Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in,’ she told a press conference. Cantrell was later shamed into repaying public funds she’d used for the luxury international trips.

Critics noticed that despite fearing for her safety on a flight to Paris, she felt sufficiently safe to walk alone around the city’s French Quarter, despite New Orleans having one of the highest murder rates in the United States.

Amid the scandal, Cantrell repaid the cash spent on her first class flights: $40,000 on a four-day trip in June to France, with her own first-class flight costing almost $18,000 while her aides traveled in economy.

‘My travel accommodations are a matter of safety, not of luxury,’ said Cantrell, who earns approximately $188,000.

Cantrell was also facing questions about $175,000 in payments made since 2017 from Cantrell’s campaign to her ‘image consultant’, Tanya Haynes, and her business, Jolie Image Consulting.

Cantrell is facing questions over money paid to her stylist, Tanya Haynes (pictured)

Cantrell is facing questions over money paid to her stylist, Tanya Haynes (pictured)

The payments to Haynes have generally increased over time, reaching $6,000 per month in 2021, the records obtained by 4WWL show.

Two stores where Haynes shopped – Ballin’s Boutique, where she often bought clothes for the mayor, and BC Kitchen and Bath, where Haynes recently ordered a new $17,000 kitchen – have been subpoenaed.

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