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 more

Stamina Required for Derby Week

We feel like we just ran the Mini, but the week ahead requires extra stamina. As if it were a full week of weekend. And if you’re working, you know to get everything done early this week, because nothing gets accomplished around here Thursday and Friday. Commonwealth’s attorney’s office staffers get the whole week off…furloughed.

Saturday we were amazed at the crowd at Captains Quarters for Mark Hebert’s going-away party, a bash attended by news personnel from every local station, ex-TV folks and even a Congressman.

We’ve got plenty of catching up to do on news, like the Sypher arrest, the C-J’s latest odd story on PRP football, and the continued inefficiency of Metro Corrections. And we’ll be talking this week about our Derby activities.

So let’s get this party started, beginning with….

Out of the Can, Sort Of: Some of that infamous interview with Karen Sypher made it into a Fox41 story over the weekend, after the FBI charged her. She claims Pitino asked her for a list of demands, and that he was prepared to give her $100,000 and leave Louisville to go to the Phoenix Suns. So she and her mother want the public to believe Pitino was asking for the list of demands. There’s still plenty of tape, the station says, that it won’t air until the charges become part of the public record. [Fox41]

Louisville Goes GQ: The odds-on favorite as the sentimental choice in the Derby is General Quarters, whose 75-year-old owner may have been your high school principal at Seneca, Durrett or Valley. Tom McCarthy’s farm is out on Watterson Trail. Seasoned writers desperately want this horse to win so they’ll have a tear-jerker to write, and every major media outlet in the U.S. is profiling McCarthy. [BillyReedSays]

Dancing Celebs: OK, Patti Swope’s turn on the dance floor for the Louisville Orchestra’s Dancing with Stars benefit blew us away.  No wonder she won. Media diva Leesa Mitchell got the most votes on the C-J’s poll. And Barry Bernson — we’re impressed with you, too. Watch the videos. [Courier]

It’s Valerie Bertinelli!: She recently showed up in a bikini on the cover of People after dropping 80 pounds. Which qualifies her as the perfect B-List celeb irresistable to Derby Eve party organizers.  Yes, we’re bothered that the parties pay these people to show up, but the Mint Jubilee has compiled an impressive guest list. [Courier]

If You Recruit a Weather Guy from an Augusta, Ga. TV station:  Then he’ll naturally qualify for the finals in the Derby Hole-in-One competition. [WHAS-TV]

Today’s Bad News for Bunning: Joe Gerth points out in this morning’s C-J that the cash Jim Bunning has on hand may be even less than it seems, if he still has to pay his polling firm $20K. And that he paid his daughter, the campaign treasurer, as much as the entire campaign brought in during the first quarter. [Gerth]