Sources: Jenny McLendon Back at WHAS11

Our sources at WHAS11 tell us that former reporter Jenny McLendon will soon return to the station on a freelance basis.

McLendon left HAS in 2007 to attend law school at the University of Louisville and she’s scheduled to complete her program in May 2010.

In my opinion, Jenny’s one of the brightest journalists Louisville’s had in the past decade. So her return to television is most welcome.

Southern Indiana Taxpayers Getting Hoodwinked

UPDATE: Thanks to Francene for having me on the show to discuss this brewing scandal. If you missed the program, I’ll publish a podcast by tomorrow.

UPDATE 2: Bennett – former GCCS supe and current head of public education in Indiana – just went on record with Francene saying he will take the appropriate steps to force GCCS to get the names/identities of Daeschner donors. Said he believes transparency is necessary. Kudos to Bennett!

Original story below…

The Greater Louisville Area thought it was finished with Stephen Daeschner when he was ousted as superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools.

Fat chance.

He’s back. As superintendent of Greater Clark County Schools (GCCS) in Southern Indiana. Since August, the local media realm has been working to uncover details of a mess GCCS has on its hands. Daeschner, it seems, is being paid a whopping $225,000 per year in his new role. But not just by the taxpayers – by private foundations through which tens of thousands of dollars are being funneled to cover roughly a third of his salary.

$18,000 – via Community Foundation of Southern Indiana – has so far been received by GCCS for Daeschner’s salary and Chris Quay of the Courier-Journal has been hot on the trail. He filed several open records requests with GCCS to determine the identity(ies) of those responsible for the money but GCCS officials have gone out of their way to keep that information from the public.

GCCS has officially played a game, acting like money from the Community Foundation non-profit merely rolls into a general fund. Despite knowing fully well, of course, that the dollars from the organization are specifically directed at Daeschner’s salary. And GCCS officials have deliberately worked to mislead a reporter by playing dumb.

Let’s just dig right in to the emails and documents I uncovered with an open records request. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

On September 4, 2009 at 12:44 A.M., a representative from Cotton + Allen (CPA firm) and a GCCS board member sent an email to Sandy Lewis, GCCS general counsel:

Subject: PLEASE READ – NO NEED FOR CALL

Sandy,

I spoke with Dale this evening. A disbursement was approved last Tuesday for $18,000 (July, August and September). We should receive the check any day. I am not sure who it will go to. Please alert the person who opens the checks that you must receive it before depositing.

Thanks for your offer to help and for the info today. Much appreciated!

Missy

Melissa G. DeArk, CPA, MBA
Litigation Consulting Group

Cotton + Allen

On September 4, 2009 at 8:25 A.M., GCCS general counsel Sandy Lewis sent an email to Frank Collesano (Chief Financial Officer), Joanie Roberts, Tricia Spellman, Connie Pavey, Pam Maples and Stephen Daeschner:

Subject: Check from Community Foundation of Southern Indiana

Frank, Joanie, Tricia, Connie or Pam:

We are expecting a check from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana to arrive any day. The check amount should be $18,000.00. I need to see the check when it comes in and need to know the date it arrives.

I am not certain who will receive this check first so am including all of you on this email.

Instructions on depositing and what account it will be deposited in will be provided after I know that it has been received.

Thanks,

Sandy

Read the rest and find out if GCCS is deliberately misleading reporters who file open records requests after the jump…

Read more…

It’s Monday! A Happy Post-Holiday Binge

It’s a shame something like this can’t happen in Louisville. Wes Finley = former WHAS11 producer. [Click the Clicky]

Kentucky’s school superintendents have free reign to sit on boards of organizations and businesses from which they directly profit. It’s illegal for every other state employee to do so. And now superintendents – primarily Sheldon Berman – wants to have his evaluation as a public employee kept private. Our tax dollars being spent on this fight. It is time for our elected officials, the press and everyday citizens to stand up for open records and transparency in government. And it is time to hold these people accountable. [Nancy Rodriguez]

It’s a shame there are still messes like this. Just takes one bad apple to ruin it for everybody. [WHAS11]

If you live in Louisville’s 41st State House District, then start paying attention to Mike Slaton. [Barefoot & Progressive]

It’s absolutely mind-blowing that a Democratic candidate for the Kentucky State House is advocating meaningful tax reform. Nobody tell the Gas Station Governor. [Mike Slaton on the Twitter]

Kentucky’s food stamp participation is on the rise. 12.3% total increase in just a year. [Page One]

Steve Kragthorpe is out at the University of Louisville. Media & UofL sources told us two weeks ago that Kragthorpe was preparing to list his Lake Forest home with a realtor but never found proof. But here it is. [Pat Forde & C-J]

Local history geek alert! The Beechmont Fire Station is set to be demolished. [Broken Sidewalk]

Hart-Lunsford’s latest hand in the film world involves Zac Efron and Orson Welles. And they’re not focusing on distribution. [C-J]

Julie & Ellen like Jim King enough to dedicate an entire column to him. [Voice-Tribune]

ALERT! Beyonce Has Left The Building

Ruh ro. Check this from News Blues:

Chase Cain, an aggressive young reporter at Belo’s WHAS-11-ABC in Louisville (Market #49), who arrived from WLEX-18-NBC in Lexington (Market #62) just a year ago, is leaving the station (and Louisville) “in the next few days” to deal with a personal matter.

Guess our previous two stories (here & here) were spot-on.

Maybe he got an acting job using teleprompter and equestrian skills?