Yep, Metro Council Does Have Subpoena Power

If you missed last evening’s Metro Council ad-hoc committee meeting on Animal Services, it was tons of fun. And not just because Jim King got his rear end handed to him by his own attorneys several times over. If you wish to watch the entire meeting, click here to stream it or download it.

Just want the juicy bits? That’s what we’re here for.

Here’s the Jim King nonsense:




We hear King is now pandering for Fischer because he fears the release of dirt stemming from his daughter’s custody battle.

Also hear from members of the ad-hoc committee and from King’s own staff that King is attempting to railroad the investigation and is pressuring members of the committee to wrap things up instead of digging in for the truth.

While Jim King played the role of excuse maker and apologist, Kelly Downard was the opposite and pushed hard for cooperation. Downard not only ripped on the obfuscation from the Fischer Administration, he promised to go to war for whistleblower protections and demanded Fischer crew stop blaming the messenger(s):




Refreshing, to say the least.

Here’s a look from Kevin Kramer about Sadiqa Reynolds’ unbelievably irresponsible behavior with official government documents:




Kramer brought up a great point about determining legality of what’s gone on and what Fischer’s done to cover it up.

Here’s one of the committee’s attorneys explaining that they have subpoena power and the ability to compel documents and witness testimony:




Yep, it just got real.

And you know things are bad when Tina Ward-Pugh gets bent out of shape:




When Ward-Pugh is ringing alarm bells about the way Metro Government is operating, really, it’s pretty bad.

The next meeting will be in a couple weeks and you can expect all hell to break loose between now and then.

Why Someone Else Should Bring Up UofL Cuts…

Read this story about pending University of Louisville hiring freezes and budget cuts:

U of L Enacts Hiring Freeze, Anticipates Budget Cuts

The University of Louisville has implemented a hiring freeze in anticipation of statewide cuts to education.

University Provost Shirley Willihnganz sent a letter to faculty this week saying U of L is planning for a five to seven percent cut in Gov. Steve Beshear’s upcoming budget.

“While our achievements have continues to be impressive, this is much more die to your hard work and , frankly, to smart and creative management by the chairs, directors, deans, vice presidents and the president than to any sustained support from the state,” she wrote.

Then scroll to page 25 of this 990 (Warning: Huge PDF File) for the University of Louisville Research Foundation.

You’ll quickly understand why anything Shirley Willihnganz says is taken seriously by no one. Not even because she’s been a wet blanket for all the UofL scandals (not just Felner) over the past few years.

She made at least $962,065. Of course, the paper only shows that she makes $367K in an apparent attempt to hide foundation kickers.

And that’s why concerns fall on deaf ears.

Local Media Forever Dominated By Blood & Sex

More people get their news from the internets than the newspaper. Imagine that reality. [Mashable]

The horsey set at the Paulick Report are hosting a fancy NCAA bracket pool to give back to those impacted in Japan. You should get on this thing ASAP. 3rd Place wins a Japan Racing Association 50th Anniversary medallion from the 2004 Japan Cup. 2nd Place wins an official JRA “Turfy” horse hat. 3rd Place wins a 2009 Japan Cup Jacket. [Paulick Report]

Haha, wow, the Sojourn cult is invading Nawbny. Good job, Indiana, they’re taking over yet another school. [NA Confidential]

David Tandy went somewhere and did something and talked about Michelle Obama. [WFPL]

You folks remember Evan Bayh? He’s that sometimes-Democrat who, well, took a sad, hypocritical retirement. Only to be a Faux News contributor. [WaPo]

Steve Beshear’s hand-picked candidate, Elaine Walker, seriously shot herself in the foot. This race is about to get crazy, I think. [Page One]

The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services runner-up status in his “Black Hole Award” category. For trying to keep child deaths and injuries secret. Way to go, Kentucky! [H-L]

Am I the only one who thinks it’s a little crazy that everyone is freaking out about the Manual teacher found “partially naked” in a car with a 17-year-old student? That’s coming from me, the prude. [FOX41]

The Kentucky Derby Festival – not the “Derby Festival” (which we use as a category here for brevity) – has unveiled its 2011 event pins. [WAVE3]

The local media has finally noticed that failed and outgoing superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, Sheldon Berman, is being considered for a job in Eugene, Oregon. [WHAS11]

Let’s Dry Heave Together Over Karen Sypher

Please. PLEASE. Can we please stop hearing about this Karen Sypher – Rick Pitino sexytime scandal? It’s flipping gross. I can’t even walk by Porcini without making the Ricky Gervais gag face these days. And that is my most favorite place to carboload. That’s what a travesty this is.

No, we apparently cannot stop hearing about it. Because that would be an affront to conspiracy theorists everywhere. Like failed U.S. Senate candidate and pretend whistleblower lady Darlene Fitzgerald Price. When she’s not busy standing outside yelling like a street preacher, she’s been spamming the press promoting some radio show that she’s hosting today.

Take a look:

RE: The Rick Pitino / Karen Cunagin Sypher Matter

Issues show “Truth or Politics” will have a one hour exclusive interview with members of the legal team U.S. Justice Watch and Karen Sypher, before a live audience. They will reveal astonishing and disturbing new evidence of how they have exposed government corruption. Evidence will be presented in this bizarre case where government officials and their agents have conspired to railroad a rape victim into prison, in order to protect a multi-million dollar corporate interest. This will be a one hour, uninterrupted interview conducted by experienced columnist, writer and author, Peter S. Ferrara. You may listen live on the radio at FM 98.3 or live on the internet. This interview will also be posted in its entirety, later this week on U-Tube.

The general public is invited to attend:

WHERE: The McCreary County Court House
District Court Room
Main Street, Whitley City, Kentucky

WHEN: Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14th, 6:00p.m.,EST

Yeah. About that. If these folks had “astonishing and disturbing” evidence – wouldn’t they have been able to provide it weeks ago when they promised to share it with us? Right.

MAKE IT STOP. IT BURNS.

GOD, We’re So Dry Heaving This Early Morning!

We’re half way through the Second Annual Golden Poo Awards nomination process. So you should probably drop a few, you know, nominations. [Page One]

The latest WHAS/A Kentucky Newspaper Bluegrass/Survey USA Poll has Rand Up up EIGHT POINTS over Jack Conway. Eight. This is the most accurate poll in Kentucky. So 8 it is. 51 to 43 with 5% undecided. Jack leads by a single point in Eastern Kentucky and Rand leads by five in the Louisville region (5 in Louisville!) 63% of moderates go Conway, as do 78% of progressives. Meaning Jack should probably, you know, stop pretending to be a Republican. Note to WHAS11/A Kentucky Newspaper: Cute little disclaimer you added to your story. You don’t accurately cite us (Joe does, the rest dont), so we’re definitely not accurately citing you. [Joe Arnold & Crosstabs]

VERY IMPORTANT: Go see Anchorman tonight at the Iroquois Amphitheater. For free. 8:00 P.M. It’s so hot. Milk was a bad idea. [Consuming Louisville]

Jack is still dismissing these poll numbers. Despite every poll, forever, showing him down to Rand. Note to Jack: An outlier would require that all other polls show you in the lead. If you think this is going to be a cake walk, you need to think again. You need to figure out how [WHAS11]

If you enjoy being scared out of your skin, go lookit this photo of Jim Host and Jerry Abramson holding a seance or whatever. [FatLip]

The Karen Sypher – Rick Pitino sexytime extortion trial is entering its second week. Apparently everyone but us had a little fun with Sypher at some point. The number of people she’s slept with – and the fact that we now know there are about 400,000,000 of those people – is mind boggling and terrifying. [WAVE3]

We’re literally dry heaving because explicit photos have been showing during the trial. DRY HEAVING. [FOX 41]

Go look at some embarrassing photos of her on the 84WHAS website. This will cause you to dry heave. [Click the Clicky]

Maybe a murder victim wasn’t the intended target. Uh. This kind of news is not good. [More FOX 41]

This Kentucky American Water Company lawsuit kind of involves Louisville so you should probably read the judge’s opinion. [Page One]

Papaw Beshear Doesn’t Like Uppity Women

The rumor was right. Ed Martin filed to run for congress in the 3rd district as a Libertarian. [SoS]

Yesterday was awesome in Crescent Hill, in case you didn’t know. [WHAS11]

Our investigative work found its way to the Colbert Report. Woopsiedaisy. [Page One]

Jurors in the Karen Sypher-Rick Pitino extortion trial had to tell everybody where they stand on abortion, sexytime and their University of Louisville basketball game attendance habits. It’s a shame Sypher has been barred from speaking to the media. Cause we’ve heard some craaaazy sauce stuff over the past couple years. [A Kentucky Newspaper]

Got any predictions for today’s mayoral debate? Bill Lamb, the moderator, likely won’t throw softball questions and he tends to be well-informed on matters of Metro Gubmint. [Joe Arnold]

Interesting that a particular publication has finally realized it is a good idea to cover the U.S. Senate race. Too bad the publication merely publishes what others have researched and written along with a few letters to the editor. All while trying to milk it for cash. [A Kentucky Newspaper]

Burglar alarm fees are out of the Metro budget. [FOX41]

Maybe Fairdale Bigfoot likes to feel pretty. Maybe he likes taking fancy trips to the mountains. [Consuming Louisville]

Governor Steve Beshear has effectively demoted the Division of Violence Prevention Resources. [Page One]

It’s Tuesday Morning. Know Where Your Mayor Is?

Jefferson County Public Schools enrollment is down a bit. [Toni Konz]

IBEW Local 369 along with IBEW Local 2100 endorsed Greg Fischer yesterday. [Press Release]

Louisville music festivals could be missing the point. [Loueyville & More Loueyville via WFPL]

Wow: who would have thought opera was sung there? [Broken Sidewalk]

Buy a bike for someone in need and get an early stream of a portion of Ben Sollee’s new album. [Oxfam America Unwrapped]

Jerry Abramson and GLI’s Joe Reagan will make an economic development announcement this morning at a 10:00 A.M. press conference. [Media Advisory]

State of Affairs discussed child abuse in Kentucky on the radio yesterday. [WFPL]

The Kentucky Supreme Court will soon hear a case that raises the question of whether a woman who becomes pregnant and goes to term in spite of a drug problem may be prosecuted under existing Kentucky criminal law. [KY Supreme Court]

Dear old men: stop kidnapping and biting people! [WHAS11]

We really are lucky to have decent water in Louisville. Cause there are millions in this country drinking dirty, nasty junk. [NY Times]

You think Louisville politics are corrupt? Wait till you read about the taint of Rep. Keith Hall in Eastern Kentucky. [Page One]

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 moreSouthern Indiana Taxpayers Getting Hoodwinked

UofL President Jim Ramsey’s Money Problem

Note: Posting this on both Page One and here because of its level of importance.

What is it with the University of Louisville, president Jim Ramsey and money? Apparently the Robert Felner scandal wasn’t enough.

Here’s what the Herald-Leader editorial board had to say about the matter:

University of Louisville officials should provide a better explanation of the $1.9 million paid to President James R. Ramsey in 2007.

The payment might never have come to light if Herald-Leader reporter Ryan Alessi hadn’t stumbled across it while reviewing IRS filings by the University of Louisville Foundation.

That lack of openness is just part of what’s troubling.

-SNIP-

The payment apparently was meant to make Ramsey whole for state pension income he could have received had he remained an employee of state government. When U of L hired him in 2002, he was state budget director and under consideration for the presidency of the Council on Postsecondary Education.

He was supposed to receive the money after age 65, but a change in tax law precipitated paying him a lump sum in 2007. At least that’s how the U of L Foundation spokesman explained it. An actuary determined the amount.

-SNIP-

The argument that the $1.9 million doesn’t count because the foundation’s money comes from private sources does not wash. It’s money contributed to advance U of L that could have been spent on scholarships, professorships, buildings, maintenance or even a one-time employee pay bonus.

With this absurdly generous, $1.9 million secret payment, U of L has made it harder for all of higher education to make a convincing case that it’s needy or deserving. And that is a shame.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the C-J’s ed board to say anything that isn’t fluff and defensive.

Kudos to Ryan Alessi for uncovering this mess.

Wait a Minute, Let’s Check the Facts

A lot of buzz has been generated since last night’s WAVE story on police chief Robert White’s compensation. In the story, Metro Council member Kelly Downard claimed the deal to reward Chief White the pension money he forfeited in North Carolina when he came to Louisville was done in secret, that “no one knew this was going on.”

It turns out, though, that details of White’s package were reported in local media. The deal is spelled out in a Dec. 19, 2002 C-J article by Joe Gerth. I spoke to a former local TV reporter, who did a story on White’s hiring, who told me “Everybody knew it back then, there was no secret whatsoever.”

He called the report on WAVE an example of “sensationalism” and called the story “unconscionable.”

Downard, in fact, was quoted in that 2002 C-J story, saying that White was “a great choice.” I spoke to him by phone today, and he maintains he didn’t know about White’s compensation package, though he did say that the type of deal White got was “not unusual.”

The issue will be front and center at today’s Government Accountability Committee meeting, which Downard chairs. But it’s sure hard to find evidence that anything secret was going on.  The deal is detailed in several letters from Abramson to White, all of which seem to be standard stuff. The Administration seems to be simply following through with a deal it made in 2002.

Maybe Downard simply forgot, and saw an opportunity to criticize the Mayor for something that came up in the audit. Maybe he was focused on announcing he was out of the Mayor’s race. Still, Downard should have checked his facts before going on camera, and so should someone at WAVE.

WAVE’s presentation of the story, leading with the statement that the audit “raised a red flag” — was misleading at best. And its implication that the Administration was hiding something, at least in this instance, was wrong.