Must Be More Of Fischer’s Promised Transparency

The hot mess in Greg Fischer’s administration continues. Ellen Hesen is merely providing legal CYA. Louisville Metro Public Works Director Ted Pullen resigned Friday afternoon, days after one of his subordinates filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court claiming he repeatedly passed her over for a promotion because of gender. [C-J/AKN]

A company that runs horse trams along the Ohio River in Louisville has agreed to take $160,000 to vacate a pole barn to clear the way for the Ohio River Bridges Project. [WDRB]

A year ago, Kentucky Downs in Franklin was a sleepy track, with only four days of turf racing a year on its unique “European-style” undulating turf track. Most of the year, the big draw was bingo. [H-L]

Does it make you happy to see people blindly supporting an organization that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation? [WAVE3]

A pilot project to capture and store carbon dioxide has begun at a power plant in Alabama. The effort at the Barry Electric Generating Station began in full at the end of last month. [WFPL]

A rare glimpse into hours of closed proceedings in the Savannah Dietrich case were released Saturday. [WHAS11]

The University of Louisville and its athletic association have sued CSX Inc., claiming the railroad has refused to pay the $4 million cost of dealing with diesel fuel, cleaning solvents and other toxins buried under Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. [C-J/AKN]

Thousands of local union workers enjoyed a day off at the annual United Labor picnic at the Louisville Zoo. [WLKY]

State workers in the Kentucky judicial branch will be closed again [today] as they are out of their offices for the second of three planned furloughs. [Business First]

This southwestern Kentucky town has hit the astronomical jackpot. When a total eclipse of the sun darkens skies on Aug. 21, 2017, the show will last longer in a stretch of bucolic hill country near Hopkinsville than any place on the planet. [MSNBC]

Look What We Found Swept Under Fischer’s Rug

More from the You Know What’s Crazy Dept!

Before you read the rest of this, be sure to take a refresher on the scandal by clicking here.

Metro Government and Lynne Fleming, specifically, are claiming that Joey Sears (the guy shiz-canned for making sure Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz stopped DRIVING DRUNK in Metro Govt vehicles) never actually came forward, didn’t deliver documents and is deserving of being thrown to the curb. They’ve used their reasoning to kill his unemployment benefits, forcing him to repay nearly $9,000.

But you know what? It wouldn’t be Metro Government without those folks being absolutely, 100% full of horse shiz.

Here’s a copy of the complaint forms that were handed to Fleming the week after Sears was suspended for “talking and texting” (do I really need to publish screenshots of the Parks employees who text and tweet all day long about issues that aren’t work-related?):


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Fleming swore under oath that she never received it.

Something tells us you’ll want to read the rest of this hot, corrupt mess after the jump…

Read moreLook What We Found Swept Under Fischer’s Rug

Kenya McGruder Let Go from Council

I’m baaaaack. Miss me?

Remember the Democratic Caucus Director of the Metro Council?

Remember that hot mess a few months ago?

Here’s a refresher:

  • Why David Tandy Won’t Be Louisville’s Mayor [July 31]
  • Regular Frankfort Rumor Mill Round-Up [August 3]
  • Pay Disparity Within Metro Council Caucus [August 5]
  • David Tandy Thinks He’s Running for Mayor [August 16]

Well… Council went into executive session yesterday and decided her last day will be December 31.

Once I get caught up here in the big city (yay civilization!), maybe I’ll have some more to share on this story. Or maybe I’ll just fall sleep for dozens of hours.

Wills’ Proper Sendoff and the New Gal in Town

This seems to be a year of departures on local TV, but none can match the sendoff WAVE-TV has given Tom Wills after four decades as the city’s senior meteorologist.

WAVE has given Wills an entire week of tributes, bringing back former personalities (this morning it was ex-anchor Julie Nelson, now in Minneapolis) to record memories. Names like Pia Cummings and Nell Taylor, who we haven’t seen on TV in a long time, recorded Wills tributes. WAVE’s taken us back to the major weather events Wills has covered, starting with the 1974 tornado and then the snowstorms in 1978 and 1994.

It’s certainly classier treatment than WHAS-TV gave its weather icon, Ken Schulz, when he retired early this year.  Of course, Wills wasn’t pushed out the door, either.

But regular viewers of the station may have had enough nostalgia, and today they get their final chance to say good-bye on WAVE3 Listens at 10.

And those who watched this morning’s show got a look at things to come — Wills introduced his replacement on the Sunrise show. There’s plenty to like about Christie Dutton, who grew up in Nicholasville, is a UK graduate and has worked in the Lexington and Cincinnati markets. She’s not hard to look at, and she’s got a meteorology certification at Mississippi State. So she must know her weather, and she knows what to expect in the Ohio Valley.

Dutton spent six years at WTVQ in Lexington before moving up to the Fox affiliate in Cincy, WXIX, in 2007.  However, Dutton’s tenure in Cincy was just over a year, as she was let go a year ago. On the air this morning, she said she’d be starting on the Sunrise show late next week.

All The Golden Poo You Want to Know

Two Words — Golden Poo: Who do you think is most likely to run afoul of the law? Just look at the possibilities. [Golden Poo]

And to Think They Want to Play a Media Team in Hoops: Check out this photo of the Metro Council contingent touring the arena site. David Tandy told me this morning the Councilcritters are gearing up for a little basketball game against media types next month. We’re not intimidated. [Metro Council]

Pants Up!: At tonight’s Metro Council meeting, Judy Green’s baggy pants ordinance comes up for a vote. Republicans, and me, think it’s a pretty silly thing to spend time on. Word is the measure may go back to committee, wasting more time. I predict a Golden Poo category for this kind of thing. If it does come to a vote, expect some Republicans to vote Present.

The Big Item: Two measures on bridges come up tonight, and they seem to be mutually exclusive. One supports the creation of a bi-state authority for bridges, the other calls for more community discussion of bridges. Vicki Welch is a sponsor of both. ???  The Tandy-Kramer ordinance, with 17 sponsors, is more likely to pass, much to the disappointment of the 8664 crowd.

New Favorite Column: We’re loving LEO’s weekly Jerry’s Kids column, where we learned that Dem. Caucus Director Kenya Magruder got herself suspended for a week for some secret screw-up.  And no one’s saying why, so all us media types get to speculate. Was it incompetence, as the column suggests? [LEO]

All About Timing: Republican council members took exception to another aspect of the LEO column — its assertion that Kevin Kramer dominated a recent 45-minute meeting on the bridge thing. So Steve Haag of the GOP caucus got a tape and timed the remarks, which showed that Tina Ward-Pugh spoke longer that Kramer in the meeting.

Ratings Debate: In response to today’s post about news ratings, we got some feedback, as usual.  While everything in our post was true, there’s more to the story. Like the fact that most stations’ overall viewership is down in most time periods, with the exception of WDRB. And year-to-year, every station is down in late news numbers. Fact is, the ratings gap between the four stations is narrowing, it seems, in every book.

Restaurant Town or Not?: Check the Eats reaction to whether we should really care about Anthony Bourdain. [Eats]

Today’s Unconfirmed Rumor: Tomorrow is Tom Wills’ last day at WAVE, and the station is set to introduce a new female weathercaster on WAVE Sunrise. The mystery woman will debut at the end of the show. No, it’s NOT Ken Schulz.

Scandalous Stuff from Sports, Etc.

Sexploits in Sports: Eric Crawford pointed out that the hottest video on the Internet over the weekend was a peephole shot that might have been sexy ESPN reporter Erin Andrews – naked. Which gave the paper on excuse to include a giant photo of her on his blog, while Crawford wrote about what an invasion of privacy that was.  [Crawford]

McGraw Moves On: That didn’t take long. Diane McGraw sent another e-mail to the Sports Commission board yesterday, alerting them that she would be working on a non-profit project called the Dare to Dream experience. Note that the link she provided referred to a 2006 event. No doubt she’s got a sweet severance package from the GLSC. Oh, yeah, she reminds the board in the letter that she resigned and wasn’t fired. Right. [Dare to Dream]

Local, Local, Local: Looks like ESPN believes in the future of hyper-local sports reporting. It’s launching localized websites in New York, L.A. and Dallas, focused on those cities’ local sports franchises. Maybe the web will be where the best writers end up after all. [LA Times]

If Only We Had a Local TMZ: Then we’d know all about the baby girl, Eva, born yesterday to Elizabeth and Jack Conway. Everybody’s healthy and happy. Having his primary opponent’s campaign strategy in the U.S. Senate race exposed was a nice bonus for Jack. Read about that on [Page One]

Lost His Cool: New interviews with PRP football players at that Aug. 20 practice reveal that coach Jason Stinson lost his cool and was angry with his players on the day Max Gilpin collapsed.  We get it — Stinson’s practice was tough, but the question remains as to whether it was criminal. [Courier]

Finally, Finale: Hoping the Bats game gets done early tonight. I’d hate to miss the finale of Southern Belles, which promises something shocking and scandalous other than the fact that the show exists. It airs at 10 on SOAPnet, Insight 75. UPDATE: Oops. The show’s on Thursday. We’re safe. So come on out tonite to the game. [Courier]

Phony Quote Hall of Fame

We’re always picking apart press releases, but this one we got yesterday from the Greater Louisville Sports Commission gets a nomination for our “Phony Quote Hall of Fame.”

As you probably know and we’ve chronicled, just-released chief Diane McGraw was unceremoniously fired in a meeting with Board Chair Steve Higdon upon her return from vacation. Higdon, in information taken from an e-mail McGraw wrote after the firing, said it had to do with performance issues beyond the public release of a damaging e-mail. So here’s what the GLSC allowed McGraw to say in a release:

“I have decided to pursue other opportunities at this time, but I leave this Commission with pride, knowing that I have helped position Louisville as a major sports event destination.” 

Oops. Don’t think so. Maybe Diane’s positioning herself for another job, and hoping some other Sports organization reads this, then doesn’t Google her to find this site. There’s more. Here’s a whopper of a quote from Higdon.

“…we are proud of her many accomplishments and experienced leadership in bringing sporting events of national and international prominence to the greater Louisville community.  The Commission thanks her for her great work and lasting contributions, which will continue to make Louisville an attractive and exciting sports destination for many years to come.”

This, after he told her she could resign immediately or be fired. Is that part of the separation agreement? A deal to lessen the amount she wants in her severance package?

Not sure, but it’s amazing the stuff these people think the public will swallow.  The C-J bought it, including McGraw’s quote in its story. Of course, she also wasn’t available for comment.

The rest of the release addresses the appointment of Karl Schmitt as interim director. He’s a good choice, with plenty of experience. He’ll be able to keep the ship afloat for a while. The GLSC  is going to do a national search for a permanent director.

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.

Finally, A Price to Pay for Loose Spending

Reading about all the scandals coming out of Lexington involving lavish spending by executives at the airport, KACo, the Kentucky League of Cities and the public library, skeptics like us were starting to wonder what you have to do get fired in a public position.

Sure, some housecleaning has been done at the airport, but how do these executives caught in the act of using public funds for lavish luxuries manage to keep their jobs?

The Lexington Library Board has finally taken action, firing library executive director Kathleen Imhoff just weeks after Mayor Jim Newberry replaced its board’s top two members. The Herald-Leader’s investigation of libary spending found that Imhoff had spent $134,000 on travel, gifts and meals on her library credit card in five year.

Of course, she’s got a lawyer, who says he’s going to sue to make the library pay her $137,000 salary for the remaining two years on her contract. Yesterday, Imhoff told the newspaper she’d sue if they fired her, so it’s good to see the board had the guts to get rid of a bad egg, no matter the consequences.

Let’s hope those other groups follow their lead.