State Begins 8664 Study, Abrubptly Terminates Contract Just Days Before Completion

According to documents released as part of an open records request, we now learn that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet abrubptly and without explanation cancelled a contract to study the impact of the 8664 plan to prevent the unecessary expansion of Interestate 64 in Louisville.

The KTC had a contract for $49,922.25 with Wibur Smith Associates to develop, review and present findings from a traffic study by March 18th. However, on March 10th, KTC engineer Scott Thomson cancelled the study in an email stating, “We have received word to stop immediately any further work.”

Isn’t that nice? The KTC WASTED nearly $50,000. Gone. Flushed down the toilet.

Here’s more from the 8664 release:

According to Ann Stansel, the KYTC’s Records Custodian, the agreement ended before a final report was prepared and therefore no report or raw data was accepted by the Transportation Cabinet. Therefore, no additional information from the report was available when 8664 filed a subsequent Open Records Requests on August 11, 2008.

8664 Co-Founder Tyler Allen said, “We heard lawmakers in the 2008 Special Session stress that the Bridges Project was becoming less viable. They talked about a “Plan B,” so we decided to file an open records request to see if they had explored any alternatives. Sure enough, they started looking at the 8664 alternative, but for some reason they decided not to finish the study.”

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreState Begins 8664 Study, Abrubptly Terminates Contract Just Days Before Completion

Robert Felner: Serious Problems & Serious $$$

The Courier-Journal’s Andrew Wolfson (a for real journalist at the C-J finally works the story!) has two great profiles of Robert Felner today.

Here’s an excerpt from the first piece, which is a pretty juicy read:

Trying to help the University of Louisville’s new education dean find a house in 2003, real-estate agent Judy Johnson says she spent hours showing him one in a Harrods Creek gated community.

Only later did she learn that Robert Felner had gone back and bought the house on his own, cutting her out of the deal. Yet he still had the nerve, she said, to call afterward and complain that she hadn’t told him that the house stood in the path of a proposed Ohio River bridge.

To former colleagues within U of L’s College of Education and Human Development — and some other educators around Kentucky — the story perfectly captures Felner: arrogant, outrageous, abusive and duplicitous.

-SNIP-

In a 90-minute interview last week, his first since the investigation was disclosed, Felner declined, on the advice of his attorneys, to answer any questions about his handling of grants, how he could afford to buy four homes in three states worth a combined $2.66 million, or the purchase of the house in Harrods Creek.

Instead, he spoke about growing up poor in Brooklyn and Connecticut and the improvements he made at U of L after his hiring in 2003.

You’ve gotta read the entire thing. The things he had to say in his 90-minute interview with the C-J will blow your mind. I didn’t even excerpt the juicest parts. Just ignore the part in the story where the paper once again spreads the outright mistruth that federal investigation of Felner is only re: a $694,000 No Child Left Behind grant, which is inaccurate.

Wolfson also did a story about Felner’s $2 million dollars in real estate, his expensive cars, boats and all that. It’s all information you already know about (like most of the info in the other story, just in greater detail) but is definitely worth a read.

Take a look:

They are paying a combined $1.96 million in mortgage payments, record show.

Felner also owns a black 2005 BMW and a white 2005 Lexus, according to AutotrackXP, a commercial database, and a powerboat, about a 20-footer, said Marty Bell, a Jefferson County Public Schools deputy school superintendent who said he’s gone boating with Felner.

On the advice of his attorneys, Felner declined to discuss any of his assets. Marilyn Felner did not return phone calls or e-mails sent to her in Rhode Island.

-SNIP-

Property and tax records show that the Felners bought a $318,000 split-level in Narragansett, R.I., in 2002, putting down $64,000 in cash.

In 2004, Robert Felner bought a waterfront lot and mobile home in St. James City on Florida’s Gulf Coast for $320,000, without a mortgage.

Also in 2004, he and his wife jointly purchased a home on the Ohio River in Prospect, Ky., for $580,000, putting down $18,000 in cash.

The next year, again on his own, Felner bought a waterfront home on Pine Island in Bokeelia, Fla., for $1.45 million, putting down $300,000 in cash and financing the rest through the seller.

$2 million in real estate, BMW, Lexus, big ass boat, paying $300,000 down on a home IN CASH. I think it’s safe to assume that Felner isn’t getting off scot-free.

Some Stuff For a Great Friday Evening

Blah blah blah. We’re blowing this you-know-what in favor of starting the weekend early. Blah. So, ladies, enjoy yourselves and have fun doing stuff. Make sure you avoid as much of this as possible. And eat all kinds of treats for ladies.

KBYE!

Huge, huge step in the right direction by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. State vehicles will be equipped with GPS equipment. This will allow the state to track abuse, unauthorized use, excessive idling or speeding, engine troubles and safety. Finally, movement away from waste, fraud and abuse. [Mark Hebert]

The state’s chief highway engineer resigned over a conflict of interest. Gilbert Newman oversaw the widening of a road that touched property he owns. [PolWatchers]

Former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac’s aide pleaded guilty to official misconduct in the first degree. A case is still pending against another Isaac aide. The two were indicted in Fayette county last March for theft by unlawful taking over $300, a Class D felony. [Bluegrass Beat]

Own property in Jefferson, Oldham or Bullitt counties? Then get ready to pay higher property tax rates for school districts this fall. Cause you know you love paying taxes that only get squandered all over the place. [C-J]

In other news, Lexington continues to fall apart and suck hardcore. Check out the fancy shenanigans of Mayor Jim Dingleberry and the Webb family. Money talks, holmes, money talks. [Barefoot & Progressive]

A Note To Jennifer Moore, Disgraced And Soon To Be Former Chairwoman of the Kentucky Democratic Party

You can stop accusing every single person we know of leaking information about your threats toward Jeff Noble. Dozens upon dozens of people are talking– including your friends. So please stop with the ludicrous threats and personal pressuring.

I’m not shutting up and you’re not getting away with this. You have no reason to be nasty and we’re going to continue illustrating every move you make. You are the only person harming the Kentucky Democratic Party.

And that fancy little amendment you have proposed for the September 6th meeting of the State Central Executive Committee? I know, it’s “confidential” or whatever. But people talk. Anyway, that fancy little amendment… it’s to give you the power to appoint two more people to the SCEC. So you should go ahead and put something in writing declaring that you will appoint Jeff Noble to a seat on September 6th. (Because we all know you’re gone post-election)

And SCEC members? You should all vote for and support Jeff Noble. He’s been trashed up one side of Kentucky and down the other by your Chairwoman. You owe it to him to right this wrong.

TGIF! KDP Is Still Corrupt & Embarrassing

CQ Politics shows real disconnect, says the Yarmuth-Northup race is competitive. HA! [CQ Politics]

What was that about oil speculators not jacking the price of oil? Wha? Dead silence now? Yeah. [WaPo]

The Kentucky Supreme Court just ruled that the University of Louisville must reveal the names of individuals who donate to the UofL Foundation. The Courier-Journal sued UofL in 2001 because the school refused to release names of those who had given to the McConnell Center. [C-J]

The American Future Fund has released a one-minute radio ad in support of Mitch McConnell. This is because he is the Jesus of low gas prices. Just like Anne Northup. [Listen]

How you durrin? Have you seen Bruce Lunsford’s latest campaign commercial? It stars Eddie Murphy. [Barefoot & Progressive]

Looking for more information on why the DNC complaint against the corrupt Kentucky Democratic Party was dismissed? Good luck, because the DNC isn’t saying shiz and the KDP will keep pulling the curtain so everyday Democrats remain in the dark. [PolWatchers]

More on Felner Squandering UofL Money

This mess is never, ever going to end. The Courier-Journal (in another “exclusive” – I know, right?) is reporting that Robert Felner directed employees of the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy in Rhode Island to bill the University of Louisville for research.

The even crazier bit? He told the center to use those funds to pay salaries. Just shy of $130,000.

From Nancy Rodriguez:

Former University of Louisville dean Robert Felner directed almost $130,000 in U of L funds toward a University of Rhode Island education center he created that was in dire need of money, according to e-mails and documents obtained by The Courier-Journal.

And in at least once instance he told officials at the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy in Rhode Island to submit a bill to U of L for research work but use the money for center salaries and future work, those e-mails show.

Unfortunately for Robert Felner, telling someone to bill UofL for one thing and using the money for something else is against university policy and is probably probably illegal since federal funds are involved.

Nancy Rodriguez still perpetuates the myth of the $694,000 grant after it’s been proved time and again that the investigation goes much deeper.

And if you missed it last night, tons of other shady business is going down at UofL surrounding the Felner scandal. Heads will probably roll.

Thursday Update Dept of The Olympics Are UGH

The middle class is progressive. Maybe Democrats and stop pretending they’re center of left now? [Barefoot & Progressive]

Bruce Lunsford went for Mitch McConnell’s jugular last night at the homophobic, law-breaking Kentucky Farm Bureau debate. “The last 24 years, you’ve had an opportunity to do some great things for this state and this country. And in my opinion, you’ve failed,” Lunsford said. [PolWatchers]

Older than dirt Grandpa John McCain says he doesn’t disagree with re-instituting a military draft in the United States of America. “I don’t disagree with anything you said.” [Think Progress]

Presidential weener alert. ALERTA! ALERTA! [Wonkette]

Phillip Butler, a man with whom John McCain was a prisoner of war, wrote an op-ed for the Military Times about how he refuses to vote for Walnuts. That’s kind of, um, bad, right? [Military Times]

Bruce Lunsford will unveil his plan for a Kentucky Women’s Bill of Rights on September 25 in Lexington. Carrick House, 312 N. Limestone, 7:00 P.M. [Kentucky Women]

The grand jury subpoenaed 13 road contracts in the Leonard Lawson-Bill Nighbert snafu. What a hot mess. [H-L]

In other news, the latest Bigfoot hoax has Kentucky’s newsosphere in quite a tizzy. The latest gossip is all about the amazing movie Harry and the Hendersons. Our sources say a number of Louisville reporters, including former WHAS11 journalist Sean Bartel, thought the movie was better than The Godfather, which is a huge effing travesty. [Terrible First-Hand Accounts]

Why can’t Elaine Chao do something about the Red Chinese winning all of our damn medals?!?! UGH! MITCH: Send a memo to your wife, damnit. Tell her THOSE ARE OUR MEDALS. Got it? [Ugh. Make it stop.]