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The Fischer-Green Scandal Can’t Be Spun Away

October 20th, 2010 by jake · 25 Comments

Last night, Greg Fischer sent this in an email blast to his campaign supporters, titled “Heiner On The Ropes”:

Dear Friends:

For more than a year I have been walking the neighborhoods of Louisville, listening to the hopes our residents share for a prosperous city, and talking about all I will do as mayor to create jobs, invest in our neighborhoods, help improve our schools, and deliver open, honest government. We’ve led a positive campaign, with supporters working hard day after day to help spread our message. I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together.

It’s all of this hard work, and the power of our message, that has put us in the lead in this race. That’s why my opponent is now resorting to the worst kind of politics – releasing a new television advertisement that is nothing short of a flat-out lie. The commercial and my opponent’s behavior are desperate, dishonest, and disgraceful – and there is simply no place for these tactics in this important race. Hal Heiner is saying that I have cut some kind of deal with Jackie Green for his endorsement.

His assertion is laughable — sour grapes can be expected from Hal but we did not expect a complete lie.

From county-line to county-line, I’ve promised every resident an open and inclusive government, where everyone has a seat at the table. Jackie and any other interested party is welcome to provide input to my campaign.

I’ve demanded that the commercial be taken down, and I will continue to talk about the real issues in this race – putting our city back to work, investing in all neighborhoods, and helping improve our schools and working with the school board and community to fix the student assignment plan.

It’s unfortunate my opponent has stooped such a shameful low. We deserve better in this race, and we deserve better in our next mayor.

As a supporter of my campaign, I wanted to proactively communicate with you on this issue. Thanks again for your help.

Greg

Unfortunately for the Fischer campaign, that’s a pantsload. A giant pantsload.

Here’s an email from Jackie Green to his campaign staff/insiders on October 13 that makes it clear the Fischer campaign first brought up the idea of Green having a role:

From: Jackie Green
Date: Wed, Oct 13, 2010 at 6:52 PM
Subject: CONFIDENTIAL – Fischer meetings
To: GreenList Louisville, John Hartmann L., Ben Evans, Denis Oudard, Sean Byrne, Tyler Hess, Phil Ardery, Carole & David Bretschneider, Jackie Green

Quick update.
Greg & I met Monday.
Andy, John, Ben & I met this afternoon with Greg’s team (Gt): Gil Holland, Chris Poynter, Brandon Coen.
The Gt will draft a document to see how close they can get to our position on land use & transportation (the 2 areas that separate us).
This is a process.
Andy is our point contact.
My thanks to Andy, Ben & John – their contribution to today’s meeting drove home points I could not make.

The Gt also raised the issue of our team playing a role inside gov. – should Greg get lucky ;) .
Grateful
jlg

Jackie Green

An email (one of dozens), I might add, that was not shot down, as the Fischer camp claims.

See television reports, information from LEO Weekly and several other emails after the jump…

Last night, Joe Arnold interviewed Greg Fischer:




As you can see, the situation is quite sticky. Jackie Green changing his story, saying he doesn’t remember. Quite interesting.

But the real reason I’m making this post is Phillip Bailey’s story in this week’s LEO:

Both Green and the Fischer campaign have denied any job was offered in exchange for an endorsement, but one former Green campaign staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, worries about possible impropriety.

“They talked about specific roles and specific things. And the fact Jackie played with the language and was willing to trade concessions — that’s illegal. And I don’t want to be involved in this,” the former staffer says. “What he’s done and what has gone on is against the law, in my opinion.”

-SNIP-

State law prohibits candidates from making “expenditure, loan, promise, agreement or contract as to action when elected, in consideration for a vote.” Any person who knowingly violates this law could be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by up to one to five years in prison.

Fischer dismissed Heiner’s charges of impropriety and said Green was the first to ask about having a role in his administration.

Again, unfortunately for Fischer, that’s not true. Green approached the Fischer campaign (and the Heiner campaign) first. No one’s disputing that. But no one seems to want to talk about how the Fischer campaign did, indeed, approach Jackie Green about dropping out and having a role in Metro Government first. Green’s emails say so. And that’s important.

Here’s another from Jackie Green to his campaign:

From: Jackie Green
Date: October 15, 2010 4:31:48 PM EDT
To: Alex Ward, Ben Evans, Brent Tinnell, Carole & David Bretschneider, David Low, Denis Oudard, John Daniel Baunach , John Hartmann L. , john paul, Josh Wilcox, Julian Wright, Lilly Slaughter, Michael Grantz, Nate_Pederson, Phil Ardery, Sean Byrne, Tim Darst , Tyler Hess , Whitney Kirzinger, Natalie Schoenbaechler, Curtis Morrison, Spencer Scruggs, James Sidell, George E. Lee Jr., Melanie Smith
Subject: Update from Jackie Green

Guys – too much has been happening too quickly.
First, my apology for not keeping everyone up to date.
We have had the media & Fischer’s & Heiner’s camps all over us for days.
Shorthand….the discussion is about the Jackie Green camp exacting commitments from the mayoral opponents & then dropping out of the race, endorsing a cooperative mayoral candidate.

Heiner camp: “We want you in the race.”

Fischer camp: ‘Let us draft a document that will accomplish this.’

Green camp needs:
1) the Fischer campaign to publicly
a) prioritize public transit as a higher priority than new interstate highway infrastructure and
b) commit to limiting greenfield development to projects that are so large that they cannot physically be placed in a local brownfield
or
2) Fischer to publicly commit to giving
a) the Office of Sustainability the staffing, authority and funding sufficient to make it successful and
b) the Green team the opportunity to elect the leadership of that Office.

The reason we have outlined an either/or position with the Fischer camp……
If we are granted #1, then the public will hold the Fischer administration to the statement.
If we are not granted #1, but are granted #2, then the leadership elected by the Green team will hold the Fischer administration to standards (we are not convinced that the Fischer advisers have to date, as illustrated by the Fischer campaign material & statements, internalized these significant issues sufficiently).
If we are not granted #1 or #2, then the three candidate race continues.

As of this moment, the drafts forwarded have not met the requirements. We continue to work on it while we continue the campaign on buses, on streets, in the media, in groups, in forums (invited & excluded), etc..

Andy Wolak, Ben Evans & John Hartman have accompanied me in meeting with Chris Poynter, Gil Holland & Brandon Coen.
Others from our camp have advised.
Greg Fischer & I have met twice this week in discussions.

Andy, Ben, John & others: please correct me if I have strayed from the path.
Grateful to all of you.
Jackie

Later that day, a supporter wrote to Green and his campaign:

Jackie,

Do you mind if I forward the collection of emails on these negotiations and discussion to Lem and Maura. Lem has a lot of knowledge about how greenfields and development work in other cities?

This is not draft press statement material but just some probably naive ideas for negotiating what the press statement could mean–behind the scenes with Greg Fischer.

I think we need to do some of this calculating on what the press statement agreements will mean in translation by the Fischer team. We need to be able to give a press statement but we also need to define for Fischer what they will actually become if Fischer is elected.

Another supporter responded:

I may be wrong, but I expect the Fischer campaign will ask the Green people to soft-pedal this stuff until the votes are counted Nov. 2. Fischer has enjoyed huge support from the greenfields development clan. You may have seen that his second largest post-primary fund-raiser was co-sponsored by Bill Bardenwerper, whose law practice is getting developers’ deals through the red tape of City Government.

So the Green camp knew they were getting something in exchange for his endorsement of Fischer.

On October 16, a Green supporter sent an email to the group saying:

One opinion — this is much too long. Probably, the agreement with Fischer requires you to ask your supporters to now support Fischer.

Says it clearly – there was an agreement.

If that’s not enough, here’s an email from Green on the 17th where he discusses leveraging his campaign into a role in Metro Government, specifically the Office of Sustainability:

From: Jackie Green
Date: October 17, 2010 10:44:23 PM EDT
To: Alex Ward, Ben Evans, Carole & David Bretschneider, David Low, Denis Oudard, John Daniel Baunach, John Hartmann L., john paul, Josh Wilcox, Julian Wright, Lilly Slaughter, Michael Grantz, Nate_Pederson, Phil Ardery, Sean Byrne, Tim Darst, Tyler Hess, Whitney Kirzinger, GreenList Louisville, Natalie Schoenbaechler, Curtis Morrison, Spencer Scruggs, James Sidell, Patrick Piuma, Joshua I Poe, Matt Glasser, Geoffrey Hobin
Subject: next phase of leveraging our campaign successes

We enter the next phase of leveraging our campaign successes into Metro government.
Greg asked that we draft an outline of Louisville’s Office of Sustainability (OoS).
I want to approach this request from the most ‘open ended’ of perspectives.
I don’t want us to define or focus on the request, but rather to consider in the broadest of terms the many aspects of the OoS and then move to the specifics.
Those who are interested in helping, please identify yourselves.
Also, before rushing off into research, please take a couple of days to consider the OoS and record your own thoughts. I want to know what we come up with before looking at what others have produced.
Grateful.
Jackie

Another email from Jackie Green on the 17th that mentions Greg Fischer asking him to draft the scope and structure of the Office of Sustainability, not merely have insignificant input. To literally draft the thing.

From: Jackie Green
Date: October 17, 2010 7:20:03 AM EDT
To: Alex Ward, Ben Evans, Carole & David Bretschneider, Denis Oudard, John Hartmann L., john paul, Lilly Slaughter, Nate_Pederson, Phil Ardery, Sean Byrne, Tim Darst, Tyler Hess, GreenList Louisville, Curtis Morrison
Subject: past present & future

Again thank you all. In the words of one close advisers, “sad news”. To that adviser and to all who have supported our platform, I am deeply grateful. I am grateful for what they/you have generously given me and generously given Louisville. It was their/your intelligence, love and wisdom that made the strength and common sense of our platform the force that it was, the force that it continues to be. It has been my pleasure to ad my voice to theirs/yours in speaking unreservedly for a sustainable Louisville. We are still here. We will continue to speak out for protecting neighborhoods and farms, and for prioritizing public transit over more interstate highway development. I want to make sure you guys hear that.

On another front…please make sure all expenses are submitted to Denis. We need to figure out what the campaign debt is in dollars rather than in gratitude.

Greg has asked us to start drafting the scope & structure of the Office of Sustainability. More on that later.

Curtis…you behaving? ;)

Grateful.
Jackie

Here’s yet another message from Green on the 18th with further discussion of Metro Government and the Office of Sustainability:

From: Jackie Green
Date: October 18, 2010 12:24:27 PM EDT
To: Carole Bretschneider, Alex Ward, Ben Evans, David Low, Denis Oudard, John Daniel Baunach, John Hartmann L., john paul, Josh Wilcox, Julian Wright, Lilly Slaughter, Michael Grantz, Nate_Pederson, Phil Ardery, Sean Byrne, Tim Darst, Tyler Hess, Whitney Kirzinger, GreenList Louisville, Natalie Schoenbaechler, Curtis Morrison, Spencer Scruggs, James Sidell, Patrick Piuma, Joshua I Poe, Matt Glasser, Geoffrey Hobin
Subject: Bioneers Conference & the Office of Sustainability

The Bioneers Conference presents an excellent opportunity for our next phase of leveraging campaign successes into Metro government through Louisville’s Office of Sustainability (OoS).

Let’s meet at 9:00 a.m. at UofL’s Strickler Hall lobby (closest to the planetarium / north end of Strickler). That will give us some time before the conference begins. In the very near future we will meet with people from Fischer’s team (Heiner’s team & beyond).

Again, please consider in the broadest of terms the many aspects of the OoS (later we will address specifics & research but first we need to know what is ours before exploring what others have produced). Please get your thoughts together & bring them to this session.

Next week a google doc will be opened to collect your thoughts & those of folk who cannot make the Saturday meeting. We have work to do.

Grateful.
Jackie

Like I said on the 18th, the Kentucky Revised Statutes prohibit this:

121.055 – Candidates prohibited from making expenditure, loan, promise, agreement or contract as to action when elected, in consideration for vote.

No candidate for nomination or election to any state, county, city or district office shall expend, pay, promise, loan or become liable in any way for money or other thing of value, either directly or indirectly, to any person in consideration of the vote or financial or moral support of that person. No such candidate shall promise, agree or make a contract with any person to vote for or support any particular individual, thing or measure, in consideration for the vote or the financial or moral support of that person in any election, primary or nominating convention, and no person shall require that any candidate make such a promise, agreement or contract.

No promise, no agreement, no contract for votes, support, things or measures for the vote, financial or moral support. No one can require a promise, agreement or contract. And those things – outside of the financial have occurred. They’re outlined in writing. They’re supported verbally by Green’s campaign staff.

This is not going away.

Tags: Bad Behavior · Greg Fischer · Mayor's Race 2010 · Metro Council · Oops · Scandal

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peegs // Oct 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Jake

    This is just outstanding reporting, outstanding. I am starting to think this series of events may actually play a deciding role in this race. Again, thanks for your work here. In the end, this line from the Green e-mail is the one that nails it for me

    “Greg has asked us to start drafting the scope & structure of the Office of Sustainability. More on that later.”

  • 2 John // Oct 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

    “No such candidate shall promise, agree or make a contract with any person to vote for or support any particular individual, thing or measure, in consideration for the vote or the financial or moral support of that person in any election”

    Where is the actual language where the promise is exchanged for vote or support? It can be implied, but where is it explicitly stated? Did I miss it?

  • 3 Steve // Oct 20, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Time for Fischer to come clean and admit his “mistake”. He is reminding me of Nixon.

  • 4 Picture This // Oct 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

    John, here is the actual language – quoting Jackie Green “the discussion is about the Jackie Green camp exacting commitments from the mayoral opponents & then dropping out of the race, endorsing a cooperative mayoral candidate.”

    So that is how Jackie himself described the discussions he was having with Fischer. And Fischer’s reponse? Again quoting Green:

    “Fischer camp: ‘Let us draft a document that will accomplish this.’”

    And then later, from Green again:

    “We enter the next phase of leveraging our campaign successes into Metro government.
    Greg asked that we draft an outline of Louisville’s Office of Sustainability (OoS).”

    This language is explicit, and in the words of one of the participants. He wanted to “exact commitments” from Greg Fischer in exchange for his endorsement, the Fischer campaign responds “Let us draft a document that accomplishes this” and then after the endorsement, Jackie is given the power to draft an outline of a brand new city department.

    It really could not be more explicit than that.

  • 5 Gil // Oct 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

    OoS… should be “Office of Oh Shit”

  • 6 Futureman // Oct 20, 2010 at 11:37 am

    The weird thing about this is, why even bother talking to Green? He wasn’t pulling enough votes to make a difference. I could understand if he was in the 15-20% range but Green was in the low single digits.

  • 7 jake // Oct 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

    They’re nervous about the numbers. This race is too close for comfort.

  • 8 The Highlander // Oct 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Futureman: You’ve hit the proverbial ‘nail on the head.’ It’s Nixonesque — in the sense that ‘WHY did Nixon ever authorize Watergate in the first place – when his opponent was McGovern and he was gong to win nearly ALL 50 states. This is sheer ‘madness’ on Greg’s team’s part and it appears that the ‘ringleader’ may be Poynter, who is a former CJ reporter, with no (ZERO) political sense or practical sense and has become, as Happy Pants’ mouthpiece, a sycophant of the first order. When Greg hired him, is when I began to realize that this campaign is little more than an oblique effort to perpetuate Happy Pants’ domain of nobless oblige — which HAS TO GO. It’s very unfortunate because I believe Greg to be a good-hearted sole, who has no political instincts or political ‘common sense.’

  • 9 Steve Magruder // Oct 20, 2010 at 11:49 am

    There’s definitely a lot of smoke. In the final analysis, I think law enforcement should go over all the evidence and see if any laws were broken.

    What really gets me is how Fischer seems to be desperately trying to sweep this under the rug, with the help of the C-J.

    If he was truly about transparency, he would open everything up to investigation, and this of course would demonstrate that he has nothing to hide.

    On top of that, Fischer has never had a significant lead in this race. It’s always been close.

  • 10 jake // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    If there’s an investigation, folks could dig into all campaign email activity. And you can imagine just what would be turned up about the mayoral race.

  • 11 East Market Resident // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    “…Poynter, who is a former CJ reporter, with no (ZERO) political sense or practical sense…”

    Talk about hitting the nail on the head !! You hit it squarely on the head.

  • 12 jake // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I have seen no evidence that Poynter has zero political sense or practical sense.

    Maybe as it relates to this particular situation and that of Jerry Abramson.

    But in general, I’m not sure that’s accurate.

  • 13 curtis morrison // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    KRS-whatevergate.

  • 14 Steve Magruder // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Fischer in the LEO: “We’re not violating KRS-whatever. I think Hal’s really grasping for straws here.”

    Thanks Mr. Fischer. I didn’t think we needed to burn mental calories on that anyway.

    Heh.

    Seriously, though, Fischer certainly grasped the ultimate straw — his inherited protectorate that is the Courier-Journal.

  • 15 Tyler Hess // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Jake – You are brilliant. This is great news. Hope to talk further with you soon. You are spot on. Poynter is crazy.

    Did Axelrod leak the Clinton-Obama deal to the public simply to pressure a politically naive Clinton into a deal with Obama? lol. Come on.

  • 16 jake // Oct 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    No brilliance on my part at all.

    Phillip Bailey’s story pushed this entire thing.

  • 17 JTT // Oct 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Couple of points -

    GT hired folks with no political savvy to run a political campaign and I doubt any of them every actually read KRS 121.

    This isn’t a job for law enforcement, the information is all there, it needs to be in the hands of the prosecutor as the decision to go forward will be a “legal” decision. There is no investigation to be done, the information is there, it is simply a matter of deciding whether it is enough. It is a close call but I think there is evidence of an unlawful agreement.

    And bottom line, why in the world, with the budget being what it is, would anyone agree to create a NEW office of ANYTHING – with the expenses that would entail? The issue of brownfields/greenfields is better served with economic incentives and an economic development agency that does its job. (I’m actually a big fan of brownfields and infill development, but we don’t need a special office to do it.)

  • 18 The Highlander // Oct 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    JTT’s oh so right. This is pure ‘amateur hour.’ With all the ‘old pros’ that exist around here who could have assisted Greg, he chose a sycophant from Happy Pants’ administration and imported a 27 year old from Rhode Island and his family members — here’s the result. A potential political career in shambles and in a potential legal mess — which COULD negate his victory EVEN IF HE WON. Preposterous.

  • 19 jake // Oct 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    No investigation to be done? Of course there’s investigation to be done. It’s what’s fair and right.

    It’s how you prove innocence or find out some nefarious shiz is going down.

    If they’re guilty of doing this, there’s likely an email trail (deleted or not, that shit stays on harddrives and one web servers for years) and history to back things up.

  • 20 Dino // Oct 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Great reporting here Jake. Two delicious ironies of course:

    - Green cried and cried about the “establishment”, “cronyism”, “secret deals” etc all through the campaign and then he pulls this stunt

    - Fischer has run on transparency (copied from Heiner) and has run a campaign that is anything but transparent, epitomized by this deal

    Of course, the biggest loser in this may yet again be that “Kentucky Newspaper” who is sitting on their Fischer endorsement and will have to release in the face of everything that they claim to be against

  • 21 The Highlander // Oct 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Dino: Your last irony may be the best of all, because that n’paper has spent a half century (or more) railing for honesty and transparency in government; yet they’ve continually supported and lavished praise on Harvey Sloane (who did virtually nothing in his tenure), David Armstrong (who’s primary claim to fame was the skate rink) and Happy Pants/Cordish. Now, what do they do — because THEIR candidate is caught BEFORE he even takes office.

  • 22 TallGuy // Oct 21, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Dino has put it all together quite nicely; How will the CJ come out and condemn this illegal stunt, like they would if Hal had done it? How do you honestly report on a cardboard cut-out, do whatever it takes pol, when your editorial page is already drafted and ready for print, right before the election? How, how, how? Do Joe, Dan and the gang have no shame?

  • 23 The Highlander // Oct 21, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Tall Guy: The answer is — they don’t even cover the story!!!!!!! There’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THIS MORNING’S (THURSDAY’S) PAPER. Sorta like Izvestia back in the Cold War.

  • 24 common man // Oct 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Fischer’s promise to consider Green’s position in future action if elected or even to appoint Green to a particular position DOES NOT seem to be in violation of state law.

    “KRS 121.055 Candidates prohibited from making expenditure, loan, promise, agreement or contract as to action when elected, in consideration for vote.

    No candidate for nomination or election to any state, county, city or district office shall expend, pay, promise, loan or become liable in any way for money or other thing of value, either directly or indirectly, to any person in consideration of the vote or financial or moral support of that person. No such candidate shall promise, agree or make a contract with any person to vote for or support any particular individual, thing or measure, in consideration for the vote or the financial or moral support of that person in any election, primary or nominating convention, and no person shall require that any candidate make such a promise, agreement or contract.”

    Though decided under the prior “Corrupt Practices Act,” the following cases interpret the phrase “other thing of value.”

    Van Meter v. Burns, 176 Ky. 153, 195 S.W. 470 (Ky.App. 1917)

    Clearly, “other thing of value” means property, or something having an intrinsic value that may be measured in money; and does not include a mere office or position which has none of the qualities of property. p. 472

    Roberts v. Sturgill, 257 Ky. 194, 77 S.W.2d 789 (Ky.App. 1934)

    “. . . we conclude that the Legislature never intended to make it unlawful for a candidate to agree to appoint a particular person to an office or position, or to support a particular person for any office or position, in consideration of the influence or support of such person in the election. p. 792

  • 25 jake // Oct 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Doesn’t look like either of those cases involved a candidate on the ballot.

    Neither addressed moral support, either. Or a paper trail.

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