McGraw Gets the Boot at Sports Commission

Diane McGraw, executive director of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission, is out. As you remember, the ‘Ville Voice obtained an e-mail McGraw sent detailing her strained relationship with Convention and Visitors Bureau chief Jim Wood July 6.

In addition to the public embarrassment caused by the e-mail, McGraw included a reference to the PGA Championship announcement scheduled for July 30 in Louisville, news that was to have been secret until that date.

All of this occurred while McGraw was on vacation. When she returned last week, she was asked to meet with board chair Steve Higdon, according to another e-mail sent by McGraw.

When I arrived at the meeting, I was shocked when I was asked to resign and was informed that there was a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee to obtain my resignation. Steve indicated that this decision was made weeks ago, and the incidents of the previous week were not the reason.

He cited reasons that the Executive Committee felt the organization was not in a good place financially, programmatically and because of the relationship problem and was seeking new leadership.  I was also instructed that if I did not resign and sign a release by 5 pm on Tuesday, July 14th then he would call a special board meeting and ask for a vote to terminate me.

McGraw didn’t immediately sign her resignation, and quickly hired an attorney.  Her personal belongings were delivered to her home. Apparently she is now working on getting as much money as possible from the Board.

At this point, I am more than ready to leave and step aside and I do not wish to cause any harm to the organization that I have worked so hard to build up.  However I am not going to stand by and let my good reputation I have worked so hard for throughout my career or my integrity to be compromised in any way.  I also do not think it would be fair to be left unexpectedly without a job and without a proper financial resolution, particularly in this economy.

McGraw’s three-page, single-spaced letter, addressed to the entire Board, recounts accomplishments she says were completed during her tenure. McGraw’s injuries were self-inflicted. There’s nothing she could have said to salvage her job, once she sent that e-mail.

The board did the only thing it could do. The letter we obtained in July was unprofessional and put a major event at risk. Now the Sports Commision is just trying to get McGraw out of the spotlight as quickly, and inexpensively, as possible.