At least the Metro Council is trying to make sure the million-dollar giveaway of taxpayer money doesn’t happen again.
Jim King, the Council’s budget committee chairman and rumored candidate for Mayor, is preparing an ordinance to be introduced next week that will require any project financed with taxpayer dollars to be subject to open records laws and that there be no confidentiality agreements concerning the way money is spent.
“If they are going to take our money, it will require them to tell us how it will be spent,” he said.
King said he expects that Kelly Downard will co-sponsor the ordinance, that will likely be sent to the Budget Committee after next Thursday’s meeting. It could be voted on by the full Council the following week.
“I think it will be a slam dunk,” King said.
The legislation, of course, is prompted by the $950,000 granted to Cordish Company by Mayor Jerry Abramson to renovate the Sports and Social Club at Fourth Street Live. Two weeks ago, a contingent from Louisville traveled to Cordish’s Baltimore headquarters to see the books, but were forced to sign a confidentiality agreement before being allowed to inspect the documents.
City auditor Mike Norman, last Friday, released a report on the trip which revealed nothing about the way the money was spent.
This week, community activist Chris Thieneman filed an open records request with the Metro asking to see the information. He said he expects that request to be denied, and he said he’s planning legal action unless city officials provide more information about how the money was spent.
King said the resolution won’t affect the Cordish deal, though he said he understands Thieneman’s frustration.