Who Really Started the PRP Retaliation Rumors?

Last Friday, more than 500 people showed up at an abandoned Kmart on Dixie Highway, forking over $20 donations in support of embattled football coach Jason Stinson. There was an auction of donated items, and the take was more than $35,000. I’m told it was an enthusiastic and supportive crowd.

There was no media coverage, though it would have been quite a spectacle for the evening news.

The next day, the local paper ran a story that accused Stinson supporters of attempting to intimidate or retaliate against students whose testimony might be damaging to the coach. The suggestion that this was going on was first made during a deposition of JCPS superintendant Sheldon Berman. Todd Thompson, who represents Max Gilpin’s parents in their lawsuit against PRP coaches and administrators, asked Berman if he was aware that threats were being made against players.

Thompson, then, is the only source in the story who is on the record saying that retaliation has gone on. Berman didn’t know about it, and the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office spokesman, Steve Tedder, told the C-J that he had heard it was going on, without saying where he’d heard it. From Thompson maybe?

And the paper claims that unnamed parents have been calling and making the same retaliation accusations that Thompson first brought up in Berman’s deposition.

We’ve talked with several people close to the situation in Pleasure Ridge Park who are doubtful about the existence of the retaliation threats mentioned in the newspaper article. They believe it’s a media ploy by Thompson. We hear that parents aren’t interested in talking with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office about the retaliation threats, that they’re not answering phone calls.

One interested parent of a player (who also would not go on the record) said he knows all of the players’ parents who live in PRP, and says none would call the newspaper if the retaliation threats were going on.

If there have been threats, it’s time that Thompson, or the C-J, or the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ office, fess up and identify the source.

Sheldon Berman and the Appearance of Impropriety

It’s weird to have three middle school principals and others contact us for background information about anything. But that’s exactly what happened.

Turns out Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman asked school principals to contact members of the Board of Education to voice their support for him. Why? Because the Board is scrutinizing his role on/with outside boards and companies. And because some bloggers are giving him trouble.

So let’s examine things again…

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story…

Heartless Move by Clear Channel

If you weren’t yet convinced that Clear Channel is a heartless corporation, how about this news —  the radio station owner chose the middle of Derby week as the ideal time to reduce its workforce, again, by letting go seven staff members.

Two staffers in accounting, two in traffic, a program director and even the receptionist were given their walking papers today.

And a little gift for those who still have jobs — Clear Channel discontinued the matching of employees’ 401K.

CW Bids Down to Three

Three experienced broadcasters are in the running to buy WBKI-TV, and the station’s management team is in the process of selecting a buyer from the list of finalists. The number of original bidders was more than six.

“We believe a definitive agreement will be signed later today or tomorrow morning and we will release the successful bidder’s name at that time,” said Carol LaFever, the station’s general manager.

As the V.V. reported Friday, a group led by local ad executive Larry Bisig and King Southern Bank president Jim King submitted an offer before Friday’s deadline. But that group is not among the finalists.

LaFever declined to disclose the names of the three finalists.

Page One & The ‘Ville Voice on TeeVee!

Problems with Louisville Metro Corrections, the Karen Sypher and Rick Pitino craziness, Jerry Abramson’s corrupt administration screwing local businesses, JCPS Supe Sheldon Berman’s big time conflicts and Governor Steve Beshear/Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo’s worst nightmare comes true as President Barack Obama seeks to end disastrous mountaintop removal practices.

Check us out this week. You know it’s good when both Rick and Dan are uncomfortable.

Sypher’s Pitino Claim Not a First

Karen Sypher, the woman charged with trying to extort money from Rick Pitino, filed a sexual harassment suit in 2001 against a former employer.

Sypher, then Karen Wise, worked at an auto body shop until she was fired in 2001. She filed the suit against her former employer, now deceased, claiming that while sharing a room on a business trip that he engaged in kissing, grabbing and making romantic attempts at her.

WHAS-TV was the only local media outlet to report the story last night.

She asked for $200,000, including $101,000 for emotional pain and suffering, and claimed in the suit she was “shocked, distressed and depressed” after being fired. Her attorney then, as now, was Thomas Clay.

According to the WHAS-TV report, the suit was settled out of court.

Elsewhere in the suit, she claimed the employer at one point pushed her against a wall, grabbed her clothes and kissed her.

We’re Off for Derby Week

Coming to you today from the ultra-comfy media room at Churchill Downs.

That new Barbaro statue at the main entrance is pretty impressive, much bigger than you’d expect. It looks as if it were designed for the spot. Check out how sculptor Alexa King created it.

A really odd incident occurred on the track today when a horse dumped its rider and took off while 10 Derby horses were on the track. Doctor Rap was going full speed when it collided with a 2-year-old, Raspberry Miss, who was later euthanized.  Doctor Rap was sent to an equine hospital and will survive. Neither of the exercise riders was seriously injured, though one was taken to the hospital.

Speaking of Accidents: They can take down that sign at the arena construction site listing how many days they’ve gone with a lost-time accident. A support gave way this morning and three workers had to be rushed to the hospital. They’re OK, and we’re sure the construction managers will say everything’s on schedule. [WHAS-TV]

Worth Watching: CNBC has produced an in-depth special on the Kentucky Derby’s business side. The show premiers Thursday at 9. [CNBC]

Grand Guests: Today’s the day for announcing what celebs are coming to your Derby Party, and the edge goes to the Grand Gala, with at least eight NFL players on the guest list, plus Michael Jordan.

Page’s Last Punch: The sad story of former heavyweight boxer Greg Page ended when the 50-year-old passed away, eight years after he suffered a brain injury during a fight in northern Kentucky. [AP]

Obama Loves Mountains: Pres. Obama is pushing to reverse a Bush-era regulation that allow mountaintop removal waste to be dumped into streams. [Page One]

Cafe 360 Going?: We drove down Bardstown Road and noticed moving vans in front of Cafe 360 in the Highlands.

Stay with us as we believe the new owner of the CW Louisville will be announced soon.

Bellarmine Blows off Smokers

There are some smart students over there at Bellarmine.

A campus-wide survey conducted among about 1,000 students, faculty and staff revealed that just 1 in 10 self-reported as smokers. The school convened a committee to recommend a smoking policy, and those on campus were notified today that lighting up will not be allowed beginning in 2010.

So beginning on January 1, 2010, the only place to smoke on campus will be in personal vehicles.

The University of Louisville has  placed smoking restrictions on its Health Sciences campus, but not anywhere else. At UK, a campus-wide ban goes into effect in November.

In the survey, on-campus respondents voted overwhelmingly (88 percent) that the school should offer smoking cessation classes.

Fast Cars, Fast Horses and…

We’re quite excited about a lot of things going on this week, but one we’re going to check out for sure is Thursday night’s Oaks Eve Bash/Racing for Dreams event at 421 W. Main St.

The benefit for the Dream Factory and Racing for Corey featues a marriage of fast cars and fast horses, along with a healthy dose of live music and fancy auotmobiles, and an appearance by Mrs. Kentucky 2008, RaTonya Willis-Friedman.

It’s the third year of the event, and it’s growing every year. It is organized by Dick Wilson, Doug Weede and Adam Brennan.

Tickets are only available through sponsors and the Dream Factory.

Shaky Reporting on PRP Allegations

The main story on Saturday’s front-page C-J was that parents in Pleasure Ridge Park have called the paper and complained that kids are being retaliated against for their testimony against Coach Jason Stinson. This story, placed more prominently than the Rick Pitino-Karen Sypher business, provided no details on what the retaliation was or who were the sources of the charges.

It was planted by Todd Thompson, the attorney for the late Max Gilpin’s parents, and the C-J went along for the ride.

We’ve got a problem with the reporting, and want to know why the newspaper would protect parents calling in with complaints by hiding their identity. Here’s a passage from the piece:

 The Courier-Journal has received several calls from PRP parents who said their children were being retaliated against because of the statements they gave police. They asked not to be named.

First of all, there’s no journalistic justification for reporting allegations without identifying the accuser. We can just look at the same day’s paper — the paper’s got plenty of ammo from Karen Sypher, but chooses to protect Rick Pitino by refusing, on ethics grounds, to publish her charges. But it has no hesitation in using an unnamed source making unfounded claims involving a high school football coach. How about at least telling us how many parents are complaining?

Here’s why — because there aren’t that many.

Read the Rest After the Jump…

Read moreShaky Reporting on PRP Allegations