The C-J’s Joe Gerth finally got to the bottom of the Steve Henry controversy at the University of Louisville, and he paints a scary picture. I thought the Courier’s profile of Henry was enough to persuade anyone reading it to vote for someone else, anyone else, in the May 22 Democratic primary for Governor, but Henry still managed more than 60,000 votes, close to one in five votes cast. In the first polls that came out on the race early in the year, Henry was in the lead. He finished third.
Gerth, through an open records request, found that U of L officials have been trying to get rid of Henry since 2002, and that serious charges against Henry have been leveled by senior officials and residents. But Henry, though he knew of the circumstances and charges against him throughout the 2007 campaign, continued to deny that he was fired and even claimed in campaign literature that he was still on the U of L faculty, until it was pointed out by the media.
As usual, Henry had his excuses lined up when Gerth confronted him, blaming his problems on others. He claimed during the campaign that he left U of L to focus on his campaign, when in fact he had been terminated for, among other charges, missing surgical procedures by residents under his supervision and not being available while on call.
He went after John R. Johnson, chair of U of L’s orthopedic department. According to Gerth, Henry said “Johnson had overreacted and that many on-call doctors at University Hospital are hard to reach.”
Really? I don’t buy it that many doctors ignore their pages when they know they’re on call, but Henry would have us believe it’s a frequent occurrence. Henry told Gerth that missing six of seven calls a year is no big deal.
That this information, released after the C-J’s open records request, come out after the primary is just wrong. While Henry’s teflon coating allowed him to remain a factor in the governor’s race despite serious allegations against him by a former employee and evidence of misuse of campaign funds. Had the information from U of L been available in March, Henry clearly might have been forced to drop out of the primary.