It’s Nancy Rodriguez Flashback Time

The University of Louisville and its foundation have sued the school’s former president and other officials in a lawsuit claiming they conspired to divert millions of dollars from the foundation’s endowment. The suit was filed Wednesday in state court. It says former President James Ramsey and his chief of staff, Kathleen McDaniel Smith, colluded to pay excessive compensation to themselves and others. [H-L]

Here’s more on the whole thing. The Board of Trustees decided Wednesday to sue Ramsey, Kathleen McDaniel Smith and others related to past oversight of the U of L Foundation. [WDRB]

Strange how no one bothers to mention that Jerry Stephenson, a charlatan, is one of the country’s most notorious homophobes. [H-L]

Donald Trump repeatedly vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’d only hire “the best people in the world” for his administration. Now, with many of his “best people’ ousted from the Cabinet and other high-level positions, CNN’s Anderson Cooper is wondering what happened to that pledge. [HuffPo]

Just a reminder that Nancy Rodriguez misreported a bunch of the Robert Felner scandal and intentionally ignored what was occurring at the University of Louisville. Now she’s spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education. A perfect fit for covering up corruption. [C-J/AKN]

Last month, we reported that over the past five years, IBM has targeted its older U.S. employees for layoffs. The numbers are staggering: Since 2013, we estimated IBM eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over. [ProPublica]

Former Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin entered an Alford plea after years of litigation. [WLEX18]

Over the past year, U.S. cities and states have been tripping head-over-heels in an effort to be the host of the next Amazon headquarters. Last year, New Jersey approved an incentive package that would give Amazon tax breaks worth $7 billion if it moved to Newark. Philadelphia has offered $2 billion in tax exemptions over 10 years, Georgia $1 billion, and Maryland a whopping $8.5 billion. But while state lawmakers continue to one-up each other in the race to host Amazon’s new HQ, a very different picture has emerged at the lower rungs of the company, where warehouse employees are so underpaid that they already incredibly reliant on state subsidies to survive. [ThinkProgress]

With the Madison County Detention Center over the last two years often housing more than double the number of inmates it is designed to hold, the county attorney is looking at bringing back a home incarceration program to get some non-violent offenders out of the jail. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump and the New Republicans are now challenging Native Americans’ historical standing. [Politico]

The incumbent and two challengers are vying for the state Senate seat in the 18th district. Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, is facing Democrat Chester “Chuck” Highley of Rush in the primary. The winner will run against Republican Scott Sharp of Ashland in the general election. [Ashland Independent]

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, met personally last year with J. Steven Hart, the lobbyist whose wife had rented him a $50-a-night Capitol Hill condo, a disclosure that contradicts earlier statements that E.P.A. lobbying by Mr. Hart had not occurred. [NY Times]

A former Horse Cave police officer who has been charged with one count of wire fraud is scheduled to change his plea in May in U.S. District Court. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Reptilian menaces called Silurians evolved on Earth before humankind — at least in the “Doctor Who” rendition of the universe. But, science fiction aside, how would we know if some advanced civilization existed on our home planet millions of years before brainy humans showed up? This is a serious question, and serious scientists are speculating about what traces these potential predecessors might have left behind. And they’re calling this possibility the Silurian hypothesis. [WaPo]

A representative from Alliance Coal came to the Pike County Fiscal Court with a difficult proposition last week: provide a tax break worth millions over the next 12 years, or say goodbye to the 250 jobs the company provides in the county. [H-L]

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s budget director and the acting head of a top consumer watchdog group, raised eyebrows on Tuesday with an anecdote about his time in the House of Representatives. [HuffPo]

WANT TO HELP US? Use our Amazon links, sign up for mobile service and more. Check this page out to see how you can help us without ever giving us a dime of your own money. Or buy our silly magnets up! [CLICK HERE]

UK Is Run By A Bunch Of Assholes

Eastern Kentucky needs your love. She died alone in the middle of the night, and her body was swiftly autopsied, embalmed and carted 135 miles to a remote Kentucky county where she had been raised. [H-L]

The Department of Justice made a landmark decision last week when it announced it would direct the Bureau of Prisons to let its contracts with private prison companies lapse. But last week’s change in policy left the U.S. Marshals Service untouched, even though that agency is also under DOJ control and keeps nearly as many people locked in privatized jails as the Bureau of Prisons. [HuffPo]

You know, like Jim Ramsey took the high road when attacking ON TELEVISION anyone questioning Robert Flener, who went to prison. “Chairman Benz needs to keep his comments on the high road and work with all of the UL staff, its affiliated boards and their leadership, and the media to promote harmony,” said Hughes, who also serves on the Board of Trustees. [C-J/AKN]

A bipartisan quartet of lawmakers is circulating a letter that seeks to delay a pending arms sale to Saudi Arabia. [The Hill]

With just less than six weeks before a countywide election to determine whether legal alcohol sales will be allowed in Barren County, election officers are seeking some temporary polling places. [Glasgow Daily Times]

North Carolina’s university system must allow two transgender students and a transgender employee to use bathrooms matching their gender identity, a U.S. judge ruled on Friday, in a partial victory for those fighting the state’s restrictive restroom law. [Reuters]

The first guy was believable but Russ Meyer doesn’t carry the same credibility. That’s problematic, sure. His ties to Adam Edelen and the the Cormans also do not help him. But that doesn’t mean what he’s saying is in any way untrue. Thankfully for him, Sinnette’s story went public first, establishing a pattern. It’s clear that the Bevin team is attempting to retaliate against ANYONE holding them accountable. A second Democratic state lawmaker now claims Republican Gov. Matt Bevin tried to persuade him to switch parties and that the governor’s chief of staff threatened to punish him politically when he refused. [Ronnie Ellis]

Physicians whose state boards have sanctioned them for harming patients, unnecessarily prescribing addictive drugs, bilking federal insurance programs and even sexual misconduct nonetheless continue to receive payments for consulting, giving talks about products, and more. [ProPublica]

Louisville can’t stop killing everybody. Two vigils were held for three different victims of homicides near Shelby Park this week. [WDRB]

Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan don’t agree on much — but both are lending their support to an anti-poverty proposal that cuts across racial and party lines. [Politico]

The University of Kentucky could soon be taking legal action against its own school newspaper. [WHAS11]

Hillary Clinton has launched a full broadside against Donald Trump, accusing her Republican opponent of issuing a “steady stream of bigotry” and espousing policies that would “put prejudice into practice”. [BBC]

State Rep. John Short, whose name surfaced this year in a federal vote-buying investigation in Magoffin County that led to several convictions, said Tuesday that he doesn’t want to discuss the case. [John Cheves]

A massive crack in one of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves has grown exponentially in recent months, and scientists worry a break-off could destabilize the entire structure. [HuffPo]

“Stop Being So Poor, You Poors!” -Bevin

The Medicaid revamp proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin last week is built on a belief that providing health care to low-income people somehow robs them of their dignity. Also, that 20 percent of Kentuckians lacked health insurance only a few years ago, not because they couldn’t afford it, but because they were disengaged or didn’t understand deductibles. On that dubious base, Bevin wants to replace a fairly straightforward system with a red-tape tangle of penalties, incentives, premiums and cutbacks in coverage, including some proposals that the federal government already has rejected in other states. [H-L]

Mitch McConnell (R-Cowardly Grandmother) is supporting Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump for president — but he isn’t saying, at least for now, whether he thinks the business mogul is actually up to the job. [HuffPo]

It sure is fun watching the newspaper folks ignore the reality that Nancy Rodriguez misreported and/or ignored shenanigans in the Felner Scandal until she had egg all over her face. [C-J/AKN]

West Virginia’s three most devastated counties and possibly others will receive federal assistance after the state’s worst flooding in more than a century killed at least 24 people, officials said on Saturday. [Reuters]

Mayor Bill May and City of Frankfort Commissioners say they fully support actions taken by Police Maj. Rob Richardson in regard to recent allegations that appeared in the discovery file for the case against Tom Banta. [State Journal]

President Barack Obama on Thursday demanded that lawmakers put politics aside and move forward on the longstanding impasse over gun legislation in the wake of the latest tragedy. [Politico]

A house built with illicit drug money soon will shelter addicts while they work to get clean and sober. [Ashland Independent]

Republicans STILL DON’T have an actual health care alternative and they never will. The House GOP’s health-care proposal would expand savings accounts, provide tax credits for buying insurance, and allow people to purchase coverage across state lines. Just don’t ask how much it costs. [The Atlantic]

Country and bluegrass music will ring from the hills of eastern Rowan County with a concert for the late Keith Whitley on Friday, July 1, at Poppy Mountain. [The Morehead News]

Lives are on the line: the smearing of LGBT individuals by right-wing extremists is more than disturbing – it’s dangerous. [Salon]

Alyne Barrick left her home in the Laurel Ridge community of Edmonson County on the afternoon of April 12, 1996, to walk her dog. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A tax break that benefits only about 2,000 people adds up to billions in savings for them — and billions lost for the US economy. Leo Hindery Jr. remembers the call he got the night before he was to testify before Congress, in September of 2007, to close a tax loophole enjoyed by private-equity investors. It was from Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, the largest private-equity management firm in the US. [Bill Moyers]

Meanwhile, the people who do all the actual work at UK are paid dirt in comparison. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto received a 48 percent increase in his base pay and a three-year contract extension Friday. [H-L]

The U.S. Supreme Court is due on Monday to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s Educational System Rewards Incompetence And Corruption Like The Rest Of Its Good Old Boy Agencies

Longtime readers will be familiar with the name Nancy Rodriguez. She’s the former Courier-Journal education reporter who intentionally (if it was unintentional, then she’s not fit to hold a job, no bones about it) misled readers, withheld information, sat on her hands and actually attempted to disparage my reporting on UofL/Robert Felner in 2008-2009. Only to end up with egg on her face when Felner went to federal prison. But she scored a sweet job as a spokesperson with the Kentucky Department of Education shortly after she played the church mouse game with scandal coverage.

I’ve mentioned her a bit recently in reporting on the Education Professional Standards Board case against Joshua Powell. Primarily because I see similar patterns emerging in the (lack of) coverage of the EPSB-Powell scandal(s) at the Herald-Leader, which I believe to be Kentucky’s most important media outlet. (Translation: Never surprises me to see this kind of behavior at the C-J but it is beyond bizarre for the H-L to screw up this badly.)

So check out this press release from Rodriguez at KDE. It’s all about “accountability” and the most recent Kentucky Department of Education/Kentucky Board of Education meeting.

Just read it all:


CLICK FOR PDF OR HERE FOR ORIGINAL

Now that you’ve had a chance to digest it for a few minutes, you’ll probably walk away with the sense that there is no real accountability in education in Kentucky. Not unless there’s someone putting up a fight to make sure something happens.

I wanted to share the release above to give readers a feel for what Rodriguez does on a daily basis. She went from sitting on her hands and effectively half-assing coverage of one of the most insane, multi-pronged education scandals in recent Kentucky history… to scoring a high-paying job with an agency that benefited in part from her half-assery. (Is that a thing? I’m making half-assery a thing.)

That’s what happens in Kentucky. You get rewarded for being terrible at your job. Be it media or government or both. This is just another sad example. Perpetuate ignorance and corruption, reap a big pay day. The good old boy system.

As a bonus, check out the Education Professional Standards Board’s report (from Executive Director of Secrecy and Open Meetings Violations, Jimmy Adams):


CLICK FOR PDF

Just serves to further illustrate the well-manicured puppies and rainbows storyline that these folks so desperately want to become mainstream. You’d think there’s never anything going wrong, that there are no major scandals, no nothing. Utopia. Everything is golden and getting better by the day.

It’s bullshit and more people need to stand up and start calling it out.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

No, Rodriguez isn’t the only former C-J staffer to get a high-paying job with a state government agency she covered. There are several others. She’s just the only one who played her violin while Rome burned. She may be a nice person but that doesn’t change a thing. I mean, Tim Longmeyer is a super-nice person.

Spare me your butthurt. I have no time for sugarcoating.

UofL Scandals Get National Press Again

Sharing this from The ‘Ville Voice because it really should be a statewide matter.

Shoooo. It’s been, what, a decade of this crap?

UofL’s problems aren’t recent. But it sure is fascinating to see people like Steve Wilson FINALLY call for Jim Ramsey’s resignation.

From Jim Higdon for the Washington Post:

But along with the advances and successes, the university remains dogged by public scandal, most recently accusations that a former assistant basketball coach paid a woman thousands of dollars to provide prostitutes to parties attended by players and recruits at an on-campus dormitory for student-athletes. The Commonwealth’s Attorney in Jefferson County has impaneled a grand jury in the matter, and the woman at the center of the allegations, Katina Powell, is cooperating with a parallel NCAA investigation, according to ESPN.

In October, Ramsey apologized for wearing a stereotypical Mexican costume — along with numerous members of university staff — during a Halloween party that came amid a national conversation about race and cultural sensitivity on U.S. college campuses.

-SNIP-

On top of that, the university has been victimized by a series of financial criminals.

Robert Felner, the dean of Louisville’s school of education from 2003 to 2008, pled guilty to defrauding Louisville and the University of Rhode Island — his previous employer — of $2.3 million in federal grant funds meant for No Child Left Behind research.

Felner was a divisive figure at the school of education, drawing complaints that he was brash, rude and unprofessional — the faculty at one point took a vote of no confidence in him — but the administration routinely defended his leadership. The university ultimately looked into Felner’s handling of grant funds, and upon discovering criminal activity, reported him to federal authorities.

Felner was indicted in October 2008 on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, income tax evasion, and conspiracy to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service. He pleaded guilty, and in May 2010, he was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and was ordered to pay $510,000 in restitution to the University of Louisville and $1.64 million to the University of Rhode Island. He was released from prison in May 2014.

-SNIP-

The Courier-Journal has estimated that between 2008 and 2014, University of Louisville employees have been accused of mishandling at least $7.6 million.

-SNIP-

“In my opinion, President Ramsey should resign. It’s time for a new beginning. There’s been too many scandals,” said Steve Wilson, a former member of the university’s Board of Trustees. “I think President Ramsey has been a great president over the years. His strength was in fundraising and bringing more funding into the university at the same time that the state has decreased funding, so he’s been able to bring that strength to the table. But the problems run the gamut in many areas. It boils down to leadership and accountability.”

Trust me when I say you should read the entire article.

Wilson can say these things that are based in reality about Jim Ramsey and the University of Louisville because he has money and is well-connected. He’s not at-risk for the standard brand of retaliation. He’s opening up a door that’s been bolted shut since at least 2008. Who’ll be next to cross the threshold?

LA Regrets Hiring A Felner Lackey

Remember John Deasy? He was at the center of some of the Robert Felner scandal several years ago. A scandal so broad the University of Louisville is still paying for it all these years later.

He’s the man Los Angeles Unified School District hired to be its superintendent. A man half the board freaked out about… because some of those board members sneakily flew to Kentucky to talk to me about the Felner mess. But he was hired anyway, despite their fears and concerns.

And hoo boy, did he ever cause drama in LA. Mess after mess. Hundreds of millions of dollars squandered. Federal investigations. Just the kind of crap you’d expect from someone who learned from and is extremely similar to Felner.

Well… He finally resigned and this is how the LA Times summarized his tenure:

After John Deasy, LAUSD faces a tough choice: Play it safe or take another risk?

When the school board chose John Deasy as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2011, it knew what it was getting: an outsized personality with a national reputation as an advocate for school reform.

And in his 31/2 turbulent years at the helm, Deasy proved to be just that. He courted wealthy donors who helped subsidize a robust travel schedule, and he spent about 200 days on the road as he attempted to raise the district’s profile and promote his agenda.

-SNIP-

At key moments of tumult in the district, the records show, Deasy was simply not in town.

-SNIP-

The beginning of the end came a year ago, just before the school year started. Deasy was in New York to discuss challenges threatening education reform.

Back at home, the city’s public schools were in disarray. By the time Deasy returned for the first day of classes, a malfunctioning scheduling system had forced students into gyms and auditoriums to await assignments. Some of them ended up in the wrong courses, putting their path to graduation in jeopardy.

Two months later, in October, a Superior Court judge ordered state education officials to meet with Deasy to fix the scheduling problems that he said deprived students of their right to an education. But Deasy flew to South Korea the next morning to visit schools and meet government officials. A week later, he resigned, under pressure, as head of the nation’s second-largest school system.

-SNIP-

Deasy was a bold choice nearly five years ago, an outsider with a background in educational foundations but also earlier experience as a public school administrator. He soon surprised union leaders and school board members with his aggressive and sometimes polarizing actions.

-SNIP-

Deasy, who was paid $350,000 a year as superintendent, took more than 100 trips, spent generously on meals as he lobbied state and national lawmakers and wooed unions, foundations and educational leaders, according to credit card receipts, calendars and emails obtained under the California Public Records Act.

-SNIP-

Test scores and graduation rates rose incrementally, and dropout rates fell during his tenure. While total enrollment decreased at Los Angeles Unified during his term, enrollment in charter schools grew from about 70,000 students to more than 101,000.

Yet Deasy’s signature effort to provide iPads to all students failed, and the cost of untangling the troubled student records system has now topped $200 million.

-SNIP-

[B]oard President Steve Zimmer said Deasy’s confrontational approach reached a breaking point for him when the superintendent became a star witness for the plaintiffs in Vergara vs. California.

Who could have predicted all of that???

Cough.