Day 189893825098: No Kill Louisville Still Stalling

No Kill Louisville hasn’t produced supporting documentation because it can’t.

Catch up here:

  • No-Kill Louisville Now A Meaningless Money Pit [March 10]
  • The No Kill Louisville Scandal(s) Begin To Unravel [March 11]
  • Patterns Of Recklessness Begin To Emerge At NKL [March 12]
  • NKL Hides IRS Docs, Makes False Claims [March 13]
  • No Kill Louisville: Victim Of Terrible Leadership [March 14]
  • Rehashing Why NKL Red Flags Have Been Raised [March 15]

The only thing its remaining leaders — Rebecca Ficklin and her husband, Jeremy — can do is attack the messenger. Rather than pony up documentation or answer any questions at all on-the-record, they’ve resorted to nasty personal attacks, threats and intimidation.

That’s just the sort of thing normal people do when running a non-profit organization that’s supposed to be focused on compassion.

They seem to have no concept that creating anonymous screennames in an attempt to malign the character of others, to harm their businesses and their personal lives is a slippery slope. Spoiler alert: we have more money, better attorneys and have a history of doing the right thing by our sources. I.E., filing suit when necessary.

Unlike the Kentucky Humane Society and other organizations (even Metro Animal Services) that have faced scrutiny over alleged mismanagement or fiscal irresponsibility, the remaining shell of an organization at NKL has turned into an unprofessional hate machine. Every other organization that’s faced questions has handled them with grace and professionalism. This bunch? It’s like dealing with a pack of trailer park dogs that have no leader, no sense of direction and no concept of dealing with people on any level.

It’s safe to say the days of No Kill Louisville having respect are over. Behavior like this, allegations aside, illustrates the organization’s true colors. No one wants to deal with a charity that is flat out nasty to others.

So, Ficklins: consider this formal notice. Full Signal Media Group will press charges/pursue legal action if you continue to threaten, intimidate, harass and frighten sources, former volunteers or former board members. That is not a road you want to go down. Unlike other media outlets, we protect sources.

Suggesting that what your former board members have provided is “lies”? Here’s the deal… keep spinning. Because all the emails, screenshots, government documents, 990s, bank records, receipts, minutes, details about animal negligence, Amazon wish lists, threats to volunteers and officers, the loss of Blue Buffalo and Rescue Bank partnerships, fraudulently gaming another charity by rigging their vote system, the bogus financial statements that you published, the license plate mess and photographs aren’t “lies” or “untrue” – they’re a reality you could have escaped had you started answering questions honestly instead of attacking people. Now you’ve also created a reality wherein you and your direct volunteers are threatening, demeaning, attacking and intimidating people who dare question a popular charity organization.

Every bit of that is on you.

Why Louisville Remains In The Dark: Its Media

(And some of its elected officials – but we’re focused on media today.)

The State Auditor of Public Accounts released a report on Kentucky Retirement Systems this week. While lacking and elementary as far as audits go, it was still a decent beginning. A nice start at examining the reason (KRS) the state’s finances are in shambles.

The previous auditor refused to do it and whitewashed most things. The current auditor? He’s trying to muster the courage to do important work. Emphasis on trying.

You can read all about it on Page One by clicking here. 19 serious findings of fiscal mismanagement and general corruption. It’s a report that barely scratches the surface but it’s a report nonetheless. Your local tax dollars keep KRS afloat, so it’s something you should take to heart.

Where’s your local media? Spoiler alert: absent.

  • Nothing from the Courier-Journal
  • Nothing from Business First
  • Nothing from WHAS11
  • Nothing from WLKY
  • Nothing from WDRB
  • Nothing from WAVE3

Why? Why no coverage of one of the most important audits in five or six years? Likely because most in the local media don’t understand it. Instead of attempting to digest everything in the report (mind you, it’s tiny compared to previous airport board audits and the doozy that took down the Kentucky League of Cities) and instead of doing their homework, everyone has chosen to ignore it.

Nothing to see here, move along, puppies and rainbows.

We realize that it’s mostly up to managers and news directors. They prefer to focus on blood and hype. But come on. This is a serious disservice to the entire area. Truly unbelievable.

If WHAS can cover an indictment of a county clerk 200+ miles away in Southeastern Kentucky (how many times did the previous news editor claim West Liberty was barely covered because it wasn’t in the viewing area?), there’s just no excuse.

Watch, though, when the audit of Jefferson County Public Schools is released, it’ll be all you hear about for days and days. The paper will have an early copy with three or four stories pre-prepped, Joe Arnold will be live at the central office enraged with a visible forehead vein, Connie Leonard will be mad but won’t understand why she’s upset, the kids at WLKY will foam at the mouth and will be outraged at the salaries some people receive. The report probably won’t be too deep, likely won’t uncover much that isn’t already known (we have to base this on the way the auditor has handled other school districts) and will still be treated like it’s the beginning of the end by local media.

This is why Louisville can’t have nice things.

Damning New Report Questions Arena’s Future

There’s a new report, produced by Denis Frankenberger, set to hit Louisville in a day or so about the arena debacle. To say it’s damning would be an understatement.

The University of Louisville Athletic Association won’t be happy.

The too long, didn’t read of the report? That the KFC Yum! Center will fail and leave taxpayers on the hook:

  • Over $800 million in Debt
  • Operating Costs Exceeding $92,000 per Day
  • Lease Giving Away Millions to Tenant and Others
  • Losing more than $50,000 per day during 2011, more than $37000 per day during 2012
  • More than $30 million in losses since opening
  • Financial Impossibility to Succeed
  • A Lease that is Choking the Financial Life from the Arena (unless the Lease is renegotiated)

With all of that, there’s little left to wonder about why UofL would fight against bringing an NBA team to town. It’s because UofL would lose its sweetheart deal that’s subsidized by taxpayers under the guise of bettering downtown.

Some highlights/excerpts:

The fact is, after its first two full years of operation the following financial information obtained by the author, including an analysis of the audited financial statements, yields the ugly truth.7 Louisville’s beloved KFC Yum! Center Arena simply cannot survive unless the terms of its lease with it prime tenant the University are renegotiated into a normal lease for a “tenant” as opposed to the existing lease, which resembles an “owner’s lease” – except that the taxpayers pay for the losses instead of the owner. With this knowledge an interesting question arises: How and why was the lease structured in such a manner to begin with?


In fact, the lease between the Arena Authority and the University which extends through September 30, 2044, is so onerous with such enormous disproportionate percentages of revenues going to the University, the Arena Authority with its more than $800 million dollar debt12, laboring under more than twice the Arena’s projected expenses13, has absolutely no chance of financial survival.


In fact, in a September 10, 2012 Board of Directors meeting Metro Council President and Arena Director Jim King pointed out in a recitation to Mayor Greg Fischer that certain payments to the Arena Authority were needed “to prevent a debt service payment default on the Authority’s outstanding bonds.”14

This plea of course was made AFTER “Arena officials have scraped together cash to deal with previous shortfalls nearly emptying a [$3 million] building renovation fund and notifying Louisville Metro government that more city money may be needed as early as next spring” as reported in a December 23, 2012 Courier Journal front page article.


There have been resignations and many changes of the Arena board members since its inception. Even today there are significant inappropriate close ties between Arena board members and the University. Inexplicably there have been directors serving on both the Arena and the University’s Athletic Association boards.


One VIP Private Suite @ no charge, including the cost of its build-out, has been granted to Humana Corp for 20 years valued @ $1.25 million ostensibly for having sold property to the Arena for $11 million (the then market value) and after the Arena paying an additional $3 million to Humana as compensation for it having to move its employees.

[In response to a request to the Arena for a copy of a verified appraisal of the then market value of the real property associated with the 2007 “Property Sale and Relocation Agreement with Humana, Inc”, the Arena’s accounting firm responded on 1-22-13: “We are attempting to locate the Humana appraisal” however they included a copy of the PVA report indicating a $10,090,000 value.46

More importantly the Arena failed to answer a request for the cost associated with relocating Humana employees after the purchase. This is important because the specific stated basis for Humana’s free Arena Suite is for the Arena’s “reimbursement” for the then (2007) “anticipated” additional employee relocation cost over the $3 million paid by the Arena, which had been estimated at $1.8 million.47

However to date, there has been no reconciliation or data provided by the Arena supporting the Arena’s documented $1.25 million gift to Humana of a built-out Arena Suite for 20 years.]48


Arena pays to University 50% of all revenue received by Arena from the sale of the balance (of 90%) of the Signage inside and outside the Arena excluding the 10% of the Permanent Signage reserved for the University of which University receives 100% of the revenues.


The bottom line is Metro Louisville and State taxpayers are subsidizing the millions of dollars of revenues the University of Louisville Athletic Association is receiving from Arena activities at the financial peril of the Arena, and the billion dollars of financial support provided by the taxpayers and the bondholders, while the Arena is struggling for its financial life.

You may read all about the report at The site isn’t live at the moment but is expected to be quite soon.

In the interim, you may access a copy of the report by clicking here (Warning: PDF Link).

Possibility City?

Where’s That Promised Professionalism, Greg?

What does Margaret Brosko, the overpaid communications director or whatever at Metro Animal Services do all day?

Why, she posts LOLcat pictures on the agency’s official Facebook profile:


And you wonder why LMAS is screwed all to hell.

Jesus H it’s time to shut that place down. Because THIS is what our tax dollars are used for.

P.S. Guess what happened when I offered to pay for the adoption of every single black dog and cat on Black Friday. Absolutely nothing. They literally refused free money and free publicity.

Introspection Instead Of Blame Would Help LMAS

Greg Fischer promised Louisville Metro Animal Services would be a no-kill shelter.

But the communication from LMAS itself proves to us that they have no comprehension of what no-kill means.

Like this:

It’s National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. A campaign designed to acknowledge and promote the role shelters play in our community. An initiative focused on increasing public awareness of animal welfare issues and shelter services.

So what do they do?

They point the finger rather than looking inward. Blaming irresponsible pet owners and overpopulation rather than truly taking another approach to sheltering.

Need A Sick Laugh Regarding Animal Services?

Here you go. From WAVE3, which is once again jumping on a story way too late:

WAVE 3 obtained a Metro Animal Services memo from May 30 stating that Gulbe and a man dropped off a dog in a zipped suitcase claiming she was just bit. The memo says an elderly beagle was inside that suitcase, and its temperature was 104.6 degrees.

WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Eric Flack asked Gulbe about what the memo claims.

  • Flack: “When that dog did bit you did you put it in a suitcase?”
  • Gulbe: “I did not put it in a suitcase, no.
  • Flack: “Did a dog end up in a suitcase?”
  • Gulbe: “I don’t know anything about the suitcase.
  • Flack: “You dropped it off just like a regular dog?”
  • Gulbe: “Actually I didn’t drop it off, someone else did.”
  • Flack: “Did they put it in a suitcase?”
  • Gulbe: “You know it’s an incident that really has nothing to do with anything. The dog is fine, the dog went home, so I don’t know why this is really a topic for discussion.”

Gulbe says this incident had nothing to do with why she has been on leave for about six weeks. She says that involves a health issue.

Haha. Right. Hilarious. Nothing to do with her “resignation” at all.

And on a more serious note, here’s something everyone needs to recognize about Greg Fischer’s decision to toss No Kill Louisville aside:

jake // Jul 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Let’s get one thing straight: No Kill Louisville’s bid was turned down because Patti Swope and Allison Woosley, Greg Fischer’s right-hand, pushed him to nix it. The Kentucky Humane Society is VEHEMENTLY against no-kill goals. It’s fucking ridiculous.

Let’s quit pretending it’s because of lack of experience. That’s most certainly not the case.

Greg will appoint a friend or donor, LMAS will continue to rot, Jim King will never sack up and do anything about it and folks like the Browns will just choose to sit on their hands and ignore the harsh realities surrounding this mess.

In late 2010 I told you folks that Greg Fischer was lying through his teeth about animal advocacy and no-kill promises. He has since proved every single thing I said true. Now do you folks believe me? Or are you going to continue getting taken for a ride? This marks the second time in six months that Fischer had to axe someone because of public embarrassment – despite years of trouble. That is not leadership.

It’s time for Metro Animal Services to shut down. Bulldoze the Manslick property. This city has no business caring for animals because it is incapable of doing so.

Impossibility City: Why Is Louisville So Backwater?

Really, what the crap, Louisville? Why is it we’re allowing Lexington and New Albany (really, flipping Indiana!?) to trump us on the food truck scene?

Why are we bogged down in silly ordinances that make it nearly impossible for super-clean, innovative and healthy food trucks to do business in this town?

The local food scene is abuzz lately with the myriad ways in which Metro Government is apparently trying to make it impossible for these folks to operate. Lil Cheezers, for instance, has been quite vocal on Facebook about obstacles they face while trying to conduct business in Louisville. And others are beginning to speak up.

Our favorite (we’re invested) Morels Food Truck isn’t really wading into the fray, but they’re encountering city problem after city problem that everyone else faces. As a result, they’ve started selling their products in local retail outlets until things can be ironed out. (How’s that for entrepreneurial spirit?)

The buffalo “chicken” wrap available at places like Rainbow Blossom and Heine Bros blows our mind on the tasty scale. And it’s rather healthy and vegan. (See? Food trucks aren’t just deep-fried pits of awful – they’re healthy and delicious outlets of awesome.)

While Greg Fischer’s staff are tepidly examining ways in which city codes need to be adjusted, it’s time for the Metro Council to do the same. It’s time for some Democrats and Republicans to come together to make it possible for Louisville to join the 20th century. (We’ll work on the 21st later)

There are lots of crazy pieces of city code floating around and many within Metro Government can’t tell us what is and is not applicable to mobile food trucks. But there are a few that just boggle our mind.

Take, for instance, some code that could apply to mobile vendors that want to serve, say, on a stationary basis in a parking lot somewhere. Look at the craziness that’s involved:


C) In addition to written application, a stationary vendor on private property shall provide the following:

1. A notarized written authorization from the business owner to conduct the applicant’s business at the place so noted on the application.

2. A drawing of a scale not greater than 50 feet per inch and not less than 10 feet per inch, which drawing shall depict the following information:

a. The portion of the property to be occupied by the vending operation;

b. The portion of the property to be used for automobile parking and the number of automobiles accommodated in said area;

c. The locations of driveways providing ingress and egress to the property;

d. The location of existing building and structures located on the property noting the use of each building or structure so identified.

Mind boggled? There’s more:


C) No vehicle, other conveyance or temporary stand shall be a closer than four hundred (400) feet from any other vending operation, and there shall be a minimum of four hundred (400) feet separation from any residential use or residential zoning district. The distance shall be measured as the shortest distance between the nearest point of the vending facility to the closest residential property line or district.

D) No vehicle, other conveyance or temporary stand shall be located closer than twenty (20) feet from any building or structure on the licensed property or adjoining property.


G) Vending operations shall provide a minimum of two parking spaces. Vendor shall not locate in any minimum required parking space for other businesses on the site. Parking spaces may not be shared with other uses on the site. If enough parking cannot be provided, the use may not be located on the site.

I bring this up because some folks in Metro say they apply to food trucks, some say they don’t. No one seems to have solid answers.

And when mobile vending is actually mentioned? Hoo, boy. Just… Well, just take a look:


B) No mobile vendor shall sell or vend from his or her vehicle or conveyance within one thousand (1000) feet of any public or private school grounds during the hours of regular school session, classes, or school related events in said public or private school, except when authorized by said school.

C) No mobile vendor shall sell or vend from his or her vehicle or conveyance within three hundred (300) feet of the entrance to any business establishment offering as a main featured item or items similar products for sale which is open for business.

D) No mobile vendor shall sell or vend from his or her vehicle or conveyance within three hundred (300) feet of any restaurant, cafe, or eating establishment which is open for business.


F) No mobile vendor shall park, stand, stop or allow a vehicle to remain in any place than is necessary to transact immediate business. In no event shall the operation stand longer than fifteen (15) minutes in any given location. At the exception of the fifteen (15) minutes, a mobile vendor must begin moving to a location at least two hundred fifty (250) feet from the first location.


H) No mobile vendor shall conduct business within three hundred (300) feet of any hospital, or building used for religious worship when services are being conducted therein.

Vendors can’t park in a fixed location for more than 15 minutes – but it could take them 30 minutes to prepare secured equipment and another 30 minutes to lock things down before moving. Does that make sense? It’s not like these operations are ice cream trucks (which can’t operate after dark, anyway).

The trucks can’t operate on private property – even at the request of the property owner – without a written and notarized application with a hand-drawn rendering of the property. And, according to some, they can’t operate at that location for more than 14 days and then can’t return for up to 30 days.

What the hell?

This can’t be Possibility City when we’re implementing ordinances (as recent as 2009) that kill food options. I mean, what sense does it make to try to nourish the food deserts in the West and South Ends when these folks can’t even get their healthy and affordable options into the hands of the hungry?

Jim King? Kelly Downard? Tina Ward-Pugh? Tom Owen? You awake?

Main Street Association On The Iron Quarter

The Main Street Association sent a letter to the AKN/C-J, Greg Fischer, Todd Blue and Metro Councilcritters to reaffirm its 2010 position regarding the Iron Quarter buildings.

Couldn’t find the letter anywhere on the paper’s website, so let’s just dig in:

In light of the recent announcement concerning the agreement reached between Mayor Greg Fischer and Todd Blue as to the future for the Iron Quarter Buildings located between 105 and 119 West Main Street, the Main Street Association (“MSA”) feels compelled to reaffirm its position on the importance of saving the facades of the buildings. On May 11, 2010, the MSA approved a motion stating that, at a minimum, the facades of the buildings located along the 100 block of West Main Street be preserved with continuing development to follow. The motion was made in an effort to abide by our mission statement which is to promote and advocate for the uniqueness of the neighborhood and the diverse historic, commercial, architectural, cultural, residential and educational assets of Main Street.


In order for the City to continue to grow and become an ever more vibrant community, its leaders, developers and citizens must work together to protect our treasured architectural and historic assets while, at the same time, supporting opportunities to redevelop properties in a financially responsible manner.

The Iron Quarter presents a real and significant opportunity to move this community forward and to take advantage of the extraordinary business development currently occurring near the KFC YUM! Center. Ensuring that the Iron Quarter is not turned into a parking lot should go without saying. Louisville’s downtown maintains some of the most beautiful architecture in the United States, but year after year we see this architecture being turned into surface parking lots so as to avoid the hard work and effort that goes into bringing landmark properties back to life.

Developing a downtown is not like developing a suburban area – people want density and continuity in a downtown; turning the Iron Quarter into a surface parking lot stands in direct contrast to this notion.


Unfortunately, the citizens in this community find themselves again scratching their heads at the decision made by its leadership.


We implore Todd Blue and Mayor Fischer to reconsider their agreement and try everything in their power to think for the community – either preserve these beautiful buildings, or at the very least the facades, or sell the buildings to someone who is interested in doing so for Louisville and its future!

Click here (Warning: PDF File) to read the letter in its entirety.

And then ask yourself what the heck kind of jacked up situation this city has gotten itself into the past few years.

These secretive, non-transparent backroom deals are everything Greg Fischer campaigned against. They’re everything that’s wrong with this city. It’s a real shame we can’t move forward when we need to. A real shame the self-professed change agents are just as misguided and ridiculous as the folks we wanted to get rid of.

What was that, again, about me being wrong about Greg the past few years? Yeah, about that…

More From LEO On Zelinsky’s Resignation

Check out this week’s LEO Weekly for more details on the resignation of Wayne Zelinsky, the now-former director of Louisville Metro Animal Services:

Fischer confirmed the extra-governmental business, Derby City VIP, was the topic of a conversation he had with Zelinsky that led to the outgoing director’s resignation less than 24 hours after news of it first appeared on The Ville Voice blog.

“We advised Wayne … that we were aware of a website that he had up and running, and we discussed that with him, and he came in this morning and resigned,” Fischer said on Feb. 2. “The point is that he is running an operation outside of what his normal, day-to-day operation is. We just brought it to his attention, and we told him we need to discuss it with him, and he decided to resign.”


“The most important thing is to help these animals and keep the public safe,” she says. “To me, it was asinine to just cut (us) off like that” after speaking publicly about the agency’s mismanagement, which she feels should have been the cause for Zelinsky’s resignation, as opposed to “a little T&A”

“All of these other things — mismanagement, employee intimidation, killing animals — that Zelinsky did don’t matter,” Reid says. “But a website testing our moral fiber? It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad.”

Click here to read the rest.

Funny how that works, isn’t it? No one takes action until there’s a little adult business egg on their faces.

Many LMAS Problems Are Ongoing & Preventable

The last few years have been rough at Louisville Metro Animal Services. Director Gilles Meloche “resigned” amid myriad scandals and lawsuits. Deputy Director Wayne Zelinsky became Interim Director in Meloche’s wake. Only to be forced to resign last Wednesday as a result of an investigation conducted by The ‘Ville Voice. A new Interim Director, Debbie Fox, was appointed and she’s receiving glowing reviews from all over.

But that doesn’t mean the situation will immediately improve at LMAS. It’s important to continue to talk about the problems that exist with hope that Fox will eventually force change and clean house when it comes to the bad apples. So let’s keep on keepin on. Deal?

Over the past few weeks I have reviewed hundreds (thousands?) of medical records from LMAS. The information I’ve gathered is offensive and inappropriate for any sort of governmental agency. Upward of 70% of cats that LMAS euthanizes are not vaccinated upon intake and many aren’t examined upon arrival. About 90% (these percentages are just estimates based on all the reading and research I’ve done so far – I could be a bit off) are never treated at all for anything during their stay. That’s despite exams that determine the existence health issues and problems that could be treated. For the most part, cats sit for a couple weeks in a cage – which isn’t cleaned and the litter box isn’t changed until the cage gets a new cat – until their eventual death.

Just alarming. It’s like Zelinsky and his right-hand, Jackie Gulbe, have worked super-hard to make sure the animals either die from preventable illnesses or get euthanized for a simple infection. Blows my mind why anyone in the Abramson or Fischer Administrations would think it’s okay. I won’t even try to be objective, here, and I readily admit it makes me ache deep down.

Back to my point. The medical records.

For the purposes of my head not spinning (please), I randomly selected a small group of medical records to examine and summarily compile in a database. To do so, I highlighted the number of files on my screen (about a hundred files for 46 total dogs and cats). Random amount, sure, but there was just too much damn material for me to dig in any deeper for this story.

The spreadsheet, which you may download by at the end of this story, covers animals that were received by LMAS December 28, 2010 through January 17, 2011 and covered euthanasias from January 10, 2011 through January 26, 2011. Of those 46 animals, ten were dogs, 36 were cats.

Find out what really happens at Louisville Metro Animal Services after the jump – with details of unbelievably heartbreaking numbers that should wake Metro Government up a little more…

Read moreMany LMAS Problems Are Ongoing & Preventable