August 28th, 2014 · 1 Comment
U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said the people of Morgan County deserved better than repeated acts of betrayal by the person they trusted to head county government. “This was not a one-time lapse in judgment. Mr. Conley essentially transformed the public office he held to a criminal enterprise in order to serve his own purposes,” Harvey said. Also – Mark Walter should tread lightly. [H-L]
Seeing an abandoned home can be a bit creepy. But seeing one that represents the decline of an entire way of life? That should elicit an even more solemn reaction. [HuffPo]
The company owned by Jerry Lundergan that is leasing a tour bus to the U.S. Senate campaign of his daughter, Alison Lundergan Grimes, does not appear to have the proper permits required to operate the charter bus. [C-J/AKN]
Some of America’s top corporations are parking profits overseas and ducking hundreds of billions in taxes. And how’s Congress responding? It’s rewarding them for ripping us off. [Rolling Stone]
State-certified local electrical inspector Michael Garlinger came to the Russell to tell the city council any current electrical inspections in play are illegal. [Ashland Independent]
A former Iowa state senator has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he accepted money from the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign to switch his endorsement from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who was also running for the GOP White House nomination. Neither Lori Pyeatt, Ron Paul’s granddaughter and the treasurer of his 2012 presidential campaign, nor Jesse Benton, who was Paul’s campaign manager (and is now manager of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign), had responded to requests for comment at the time this post was published. [Open Secrets]
The Glasgow school board voted 3-2 in favor of a 4 percent tax increase at a special-called meeting on Tuesday, following a public forum about the proposed tax rate. [Glasgow Daily Times]
Unlike Romney, what McConnell said to the Koch brothers are things he has said in public, and more importantly, his comments mirror positions he has publicly backed with actual Senate votes: opposition to Democrats’ plans to increase the minimum wage, extend unemployment insurance and make student loans more affordable through the tax system. [CNN]
With one exception, rates for Madison County property and taxing districts will remain the same for 2014. [Richmond Register]
Sorenson also confirms that Paul’s National Campaign Chairman, Jesse Benton, was aware of Kesari’s actions. After asking Fusaro if he thought the key players inside the upper echelons of the Ron Paul campaign knew of Kesari’s actions, Fusaro stated that he was confident that Benton knew. Sorenson quickly responds by saying, “Oh, I know Jesse knows. I know Jesse knows.” [Ruh Ro]
The Perry County Board of Education held its first meeting of the new school year last Thursday. Superintendent Jonathan Jett said he felt like things had gotten off to a great start. [Hazard Herald]
The FCC has announced that TWC must pay a $1.1 million penalty for failing to report a number of network outages to the Commission. [Consumerist]
Another proposed debate between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, appears to have died. [Sam Youngman]
Surveillance video from an Ohio Walmart shows that a man fatally shot by police earlier this month had his back to officers and was talking on a cell phone, an attorney for the man’s family says. [HuffPo]
Tags: Alison Grimes · Campaign Finance · Congress · Corruption · Eastern Kentucky · Economy · Education · Flashback · Law Enforcement · Mitch McConnell · Presidential Race · Rand Paul · Taxes
We told you long ago about Jim Dusso — the man Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell fired because he refused to illegally retaliate against Kelly Wallace. If you’re unfamiliar, catch up:
- Montgomery Co. Has Yet Another Big Problem [March 3, 2014]
- In Wake Of The Latest Montgomery Co. Scandal… [March 4, 2014]
- Montgomery Co Supe Goes On Fishing Expedition [April 28, 2014]
- Montgomery Co. High School Principal Reinstated But The Wildfire Of Corruption Rages On [May 30, 2014]
- Sources Confirm Additional Powell Investigations [June 3, 2014]
- Could Josh Powell’s Principal Hiring Be Illegal? [June 11, 2014]
- Newspaper Misinforms Montgomery County Again [June 12, 2014]
- More Retaliation Claims Surface In Montgomery Co. [June 25, 2014]
- Scheme Unravels: Joshua Powell Gets Sued [July 31, 2014]
- Illegally Hired Union Principal’s A Powell Favorite [August 25, 2014]
For quite some time, Powell has claimed that he didn’t use taxpayer dollars to retaliate against Dusso. He’s gone so far as to have his people claim that there were never any official documents drawn up.
But you already know how Powell operates. You have his playbook. You know he makes threats, offers to let people keep their jobs until the end of the year in an attempt to silence them, frightens them into submission. He’s done the same thing repeatedly. With Jennifer Hall, with Michelle Goins-Henry, with Gene Heffington. The list goes on and on.
You also know that if we’re good at anything, it’s getting our hands on documents like these:
CLICK TO ENLARGE
See? A paper trail emerges.
CLICK BOTH TO ENLARGE — PDF FILES
Yep — there you have it. The resignation Powell had his taxpayer-funded personal attorney draft up. Along with an agreement to use if Dusso agreed to go along with his scheme.
BUT WAIT! It gets crazier.
Check out the letter Powell sent Dusso when all that failed:
CLICK FOR HUGE PDF
Yes, you just read nine pages of insanity. All claims that Powell had to admit were bogus upon bringing Dusso back into the school system.
And you wonder why Montgomery County can’t have nice things.
P.S. to Powell: We have the text messages between from you and Jacqui Johnston authorizing Terry Rhodes to enter the system. Maybe we should publish those in yet another scandalous story. And some of those teachers you claim filed complaints against Dusso? Some of them have signed sworn affidavits claiming you coerced them. Yep, definitely time for another story.
Tags: Corruption · Education · Flashback · Investigation · Joshua Powell · Wasted Money
We hear through the Montgomery County Schools grapevine that an early learning center employee resigned yesterday re: Joshua Powell.
One of his children was in the tuition-free classroom (yep, his kids get free childcare without school board approval) when the previously mentioned employee received a telephone call advising her to move Powell’s other child into the same classroom. That’s despite district regulation preventing siblings from being in the same room. According to two employees we spoke with, the woman making the demand was Melody Claypoole, the District Assessment Coordinator. Claypoole has not returned a request for comment.
The early learning center/childcare employee, being told to ‘do it or else’, decided to resign rather than be complicit in another potential mess.
We’ve heard allegations for months that Powell’s children, along with several others in administration, receive free childcare.
In fact, there’s increasing evidence that a young woman employed by the district cared for Powell’s children outside the school system this summer (when childcare wasn’t in session) at the home of one of his administrators — Kristi Carter. We’ve received photographs of the young woman at the home of Carter babysitting Powell’s kids. Payroll data received via open records request seems to suggest that she was being paid by the district at the time.
Lest those folks claim there’s no information that could lead anyone to believe something scandalous is going on? Here’s a taste of the photos:
JUST A TASTE
And a taste of some of the data we’ve uncovered:
CLICK TO ENLARGE
So let’s quit it with the obfuscation, Montgomery County Schools honchos. You don’t want us to identify that young woman. That would require us to report on her being directly tied to one of the state troopers involved in the iPad intimidation.
It’s fascinating to hear about panicked moves to place Powell’s kids in free childcare rooms right as we started poking around.
Tags: Corruption · Education · Investigation · Joshua Powell · Rumor
CLICK TO VISIT
We’ve purposefully kept coverage of Louisville Metro Animal Services confined to The ‘Ville Voice over the years because we know it doesn’t matter to most folks out in the state.
But hoo boy! Sometimes a story gets so crazy that we have to share what’s going on. Especially when failed former U.S. Senate candidate Greg Fischer is orchestrating a coverup and there’s now a criminal investigation. All because of sheer government ineptitude and our years of hard work.
Cross-posted from TVV:
Seriously, folks, is Greg Fischer this inept? Is the man purposefully trying to sink his mayoral ship?
Here’s some more of our “grade school journalism” for you to think about this morning.
City staff brushes off animal services meeting
An animal advocate was emotional Wednesday as she discussed a young pit bull that was euthanized after needing medical care for months in the custody of Louisville Metro Animal Services and an inquiry into the situation by a Metro Council committee.
Callahan and Eaves would not say whether they believe there was neglect…
Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer, confirmed the administration would not be at the meeting or send the documents until the police department’s Public Integrity Unit completes its investigation.
Fischer general counsel Kellie Watson, who did attend the meeting, gave council members discs containing information that had already been provided to the public or media through requests.
Councilman Kelly Downard, co-chair of the committee, who said members do not want to compromise any investigation, indicated the Public Integrity Unit was already looking into the situation before Fischer’s request.
Fischer asked the Public Integrity Unit to investigate the situation even though he said he had a team examine the situation when it first came to officials’ attention earlier in the summer and that there was no evidence that employees acted improperly.
“They determined there was nothing inappropriate,” he said. But, Poynter said, once the council continued to raise the issue, they thought it was appropriate for PIU to conduct an independent review.
Several council members questioned why the administration has not provided its examination, which they said could answer their questions.
First — for anyone to try taking the spotlight from the council is a little bit bizarre. Those folks definitely knew there was neglect and have said as much via email. Do we really have to go down this road by pointing out that they’re stretching a bit with the media? All this fake-crying and hand wringing is silly and unnecessary.
But back to the story…
Hilarious that Fischer is trying to claim he’s the reason there’s a police investigation… only to have Metro Council point out it was taking place before the mayor asked for it.
And about that internal investigation Fischer said has already taken place? Wait til we get to the WAVE story. You’ll wet yourself.
Louisville’s Metro Council investigating Animal Services dept. following dog’s death
Questions about Metro Animal Services’ handling of a dog named Sadie are just part of what Metro Council members want to know about the agency.
“Is there still some reason for us to think that there are parts of this that the mayor doesn’t feel like it is appropriate for us to be asking for,” said metro council member Kevin Kramer, (R)-Dist. 11.
“Many of the council members had seen that press release. We had it on our desks where the mayor’s office had said they had already done an examination of the situation. We just really want to get the facts and understand what’s going on,” said council member David James, (D)-Dist. 6.
“A number of the concerns we were having early on, were pretty much expanding daily. We wanted a clear picture of the total situation prior to moving forward,” said council member and ad hoc committee co-chairman Kelly Downard, (R)-Dist. 16.
Not exactly the kind of press the mayor needs — bipartisan skepticism. Investigations, hearings, county attorney, police, public integrity, animal cruelty, coverup.
Metro Animal Services comes under fire amid corruption allegations
Louisville Metro Animal Services is coming under fire amid allegations of corruption.
A metro council committee met Wednesday to discuss the scandal.
Members of the committee are currently trying to gather facts to see if someone should be held accountable.
Not bad for a station that’s focused on the bare minimum. Terrible for a mayor who just wishes he could make this all go away.
WHAS apparently credited this site (thanks, Joe Arnold! you’re always the best) during its evening newscast but this afternoon story is borderline plagiarized from several sources, not just TVV:
Special committee meeting held after complaints about LMAS
A special committee will start an eight week investigation into Louisville Metro Animal Services Wednesday night.
Emails obtained through an open records request accuse the agency of neglecting to raise funds or allow Sadie’s foster to raise funds for her surgery. Her medical records show she had ingested some of her own leg in an attempt to alleviate the pain. She developed pneumonia and was eventually euthanized.
The ad hoc committee will look into those allegations, as well as review how the department is run overall. Donald Robinson has been serving as interim director of LMAS.
Below are the emails and records we obtained through an Open Records Request…
Pro-tip to WHAS: When you get documents that the Fischer Administration is keeping secret from this website, don’t act like you did the reporting yourself.
Those records weren’t initially obtained via an open records request — they were provided to us by LMAS employees because LMAS and the Fischer Administration were illegally withholding the documents, as this website reported. Hello? That’s what launched the investigation(s)!
But nice to see you covering the story you’ve refused to cover for ages.
Here’s the kicker — WAVE:
Fischer response to dog case leaves Metro Council members ‘baffled’
Louisville Metro Council members said Mayor Greg Fischer’s explanations of an alleged animal abuse case involving a member of his administration left them confused.
“Baffled is the right term. I was very surprised,” said Kelly Downard (R-District 16), one of the committee’s co-chairs. “All we want to do is cooperate and get this thing done and find out what happened. It’s confusing why we’re having such a hard time doing it.”
The allegations have united Republicans and Democrats on the Metro Council in seeking answers from Fischer’s administration. Four members of Fischer’s administration, including Brosko, didn’t come as requested to the committee meeting.
Fischer’s legal counsel Kellie Watson showed up instead, and she faced intense questioning from council members, especially after she was either unwilling or unable to provide details about an internal investigation that found nothing improper.
Councilman David James, a Democrat (District 6) who sits on the committee, asked Watson whether there had been an internal investigation.
“I can’t answer at this exact moment,” Watson replied.
After the meeting WAVE 3 News asked Watson to clear up the confusion, but she walked away from a question without providing details about the internal probe. Fischer later said his administration wouldn’t provide key information or people requested by council members until the Metro Police Public Integrity Unit investigation was complete.
“We just want to take it one step at a time,” Fischer said, who said he knew about no wrongdoing. “Our director spoke to all the people involved, got an understanding of what the facts were, and felt like the procedures we had were followed.”
Downard said he had spoken to Adkins, and the accuser was prepared to sign an affidavit about her allegations against Metro Animal Services staff.
“It is a corrupt place, led by people who do not care for the animals, but for good press,” stated a letter from Adkins that committee co-chair Cindi Fowler read aloud in the meeting.
Brosko transferred to Fischer’s office as a spokeswoman after news of the case broke, but LMAS officials have said it was simply a promotion.
All right for Theo Keith proving that good journalism is possible in Louisville television! Other stations should take note, as that’s the kind of work they should be doing. The kind of work that doesn’t require one give credit where it’s due because it’s all their work, their original reporting, their hardworking efforts to get people on camera.
Fischer admitted it was his METRO ANIMAL SERVICES DIRECTOR (!!) who conducted the “investigation” and found nothing to see here, move along, puppies and rainbows.
How bout that?
Every media outlet in town is finally covering LMAS and Fischer is apparently orchestrating a for real, literal coverup. But a bi-partisan team of Metro Council members are having none of it and they’re doing this city proud by holding the executive branch accountable. There’s even a criminal investigation.
We’re all so surprised that it’s tough to digest. Media covering LMAS: wow. Government doing its job: wow. Criminal investigation: wow. Fischer coverup: wow.
Tags: Corruption · Greg Fischer · Investigation
Despite reports last week that dozens of wild horses had been shot to death in Harlan County, state police say only one horse was found dead, and they do not know how it died. [H-L]
Scientists have found a strange structure resembling a microbial cell inside a Martian meteorite, but they’re not claiming that it’s evidence of Red Planet life. [HuffPo]
They weren’t debates, but we have now seen two joint appearances this month by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, his Democratic challenger. [C-J/AKN]
Last week, the Department of Justice announced that FBI agents were working with attorneys from the Civil Rights Division and US Attorney’s Office to conduct what Attorney General Eric Holder promised would be a “thorough and complete investigation” into the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Since then, more than 40 FBI agents have arrived in the St. Louis suburb to interview witnesses and canvas the neighborhood where Brown was shot by a police officer on August 9. [Mother Jones]
Cowboy boots and denim jeans. That’s all that was new here Tuesday as Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes squared off before more than 500 at the Red, White and Blue Picnic on the grounds of the Daviess County Courthouse in sweltering, mid-90 degree heat. [Ronnie Ellis]
“There’s only one thing Barack Obama needs to keep his grip on power,” Mitch McConnell said, his voice cracking amid the applause. “He needs the U.S. Senate!” [NY Times]
When the polls are open on Election Day, Nov. 4, Richmond bars and liquor stores also may be open for sales. [Richmond Register]
Why abundant coal may have cursed the Appalachian economy. [WaPo]
Did you see the latest with Greg Fischer? He’s now hiding from the investigative body digging into his corruption. He’s apparently got something to hide. [The 'Ville Voice]
What lies beneath Stonehenge? A groundbreaking survey of the site has turned up tantalizing new clues to what really went on there. [Smithsonian]
Circular saws squealed and construction workers hammered away on buildings, part of this Appalachian area’s painstaking recovery from a deadly 2012 tornado. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]
Securing admissions of wrongdoing is a step in the right direction, but there’s much work to be done to hold giant corporations accountable for their misdeeds. [ProPublica]
A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of three James River Coal Co. mining complexes to a subsidiary of Kentucky-based Blackhawk Mining LLC. [H-L]
With growing talk about another potential government shutdown, Democrats this week are launching a new website to remind Republicans about their promises to avoid a similar scenario before Washington lurched to a halt last year. [HuffPo]
Tags: Alison Grimes · Corruption · Discrimination · Eastern Kentucky · Economy · Environment · FEAR! · Flashback · Greg Fischer · Investigation · Kentucky Business · Law Enforcement · Mitch McConnell · Senate
In the face of concerns from custodial staff, Fayette County Superintendent Tom Shelton has dropped a proposal for a pilot program to outsource some janitorial ser vices at the district’s Central Office. [H-L]
Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous — and it’s increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says. [HuffPo]
Finding herself short $200 on her rent after being laid off from her job at Presbyterian headquarters, Mary Love took out a payday loan. The following payday, her bank account was charged $200, plus a $30 fee by the Outer Loop lender. [C-J/AKN]
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) is gearing up for a presidential primary challenge against Hillary Clinton and hopes to capitalize on Democratic concerns over Clinton’s coziness with Wall Street banks. [The Hill]
NewCity Morehead has prepared a recommendation to the City of Morehead to explore options about establishing a tax increment financing district in downtown Morehead. The vote on the recommendation passed unanimously during Wednesday’s meeting. [The Morehead News]
In his new book, Patrick Cockburn writes that America’s failed strategy will only make ISIS stronger. [Mother Jones]
For the first time in its 25-year history, the Kentucky Lottery has begun advertising where proceeds from the sale of its games are spent. [WAVE3]
Opposition to the educational standards known as Common Core has come from an array of Tea Party groups, conservative think-tanks, Glenn Beck, and the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity — and a few voices on the left as well. But one of the most active sources of opposition has been an unlikely group: a Christian conservative organization that works to defend the rights of homeschooling parents. Homeschoolers are not actually covered by the educational standards. [Think Progress]
U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Vanceburg, and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, have a different view on what rights the president can take to bomb targets in Iraq — which has been on-going over the last two weeks. [CN|2]
This story would be pretty damning if it weren’t coordinated with the American Bridge Super PAC as a media stunt. What’s worse, a mail vendor in D.C. with ties to Jerry Lundergan dating to 2003 was shopping the Super PAC’s research around last week. And the sad part? That “secret” recording is actually McConnell’s stump speech that he’s given for months. [The Nation]
Still need more proof that this was a coordinate stunt that ended up badly? Essentially the same mess was shopped to Joan Walsh. [Salon]
One hundred years ago next week, a bird named Martha dropped dead in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was the last known passenger pigeon, a breed that just a few decades earlier had been the most numerous bird in America. [Tom Eblen]
The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. [NY Times]
Moody’s said it will not downgrade Kentucky’s credit rating despite a recent federal bankruptcy decision that could increase the state’s pension liability. [H-L]
Federal appeals judges bristled on Tuesday at arguments defending gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites. [HuffPo]
Tags: Barack Obama · Discrimination · Eastern Kentucky · Economy · Education · Environment · Flashback · Gambling · Iraq · Military · Mitch McConnell · Presidential Race · Taxes · The Gays
The Education Professional Standards Board this week confirmed that it has not only charged Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell but…
Wait for it…
Assistant Superintendent Phil Rison.
Meanwhile, Powell, Rison and board chair Kenney Gulley (who was officially notified about the EPSB investigations) all claim they know nothing about pending matters. Which we all know is a mess of b.s.
That sound you hear is a monstrous gulp emanating from Mt. Sterling.
On a semi-related note… Powell had a small handful of people show up at last night’s board meeting to sing his praises.
What that means: Powell knows the end is nigh.
Can you imagine? Those poor people being snowed into praising him, wholly unaware of pending investigations, several major lawsuits, sanctions, civil rights cases and audit reports proving illegal hirings and such. Bless their hearts.
Tags: Corruption · Education · Investigation · Joshua Powell
August 27th, 2014 · 1 Comment
Jack Coleman, who served in the state house for 14 years, should know a conflict of interest better than anyone. What, with the decade and a half of ethics training he endured.
He’s been Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction in Kentucky since April 2012. As you can see from the agency’s own website, it’s a job that’s kind of a big deal. Everyone we’ve spoken with in the Public Protection Cabinet seems to think so, anyway.
So does he:
FROM LINKED IN
You can imagine our surprise when we discovered the man who once had “the largest contingent of state employees of any House district” would potentially be caught up in a conflict of interest. Especially after a glowing nomination like that from then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo.
Here’s the deal: Coleman started a business in October last year that presents a conflict of interest as big as any we’ve seen in state government. It’s called Coleman Family Construction:
CLICK TO ENLARGE
According to the Kentucky Revised Statutes, what Coleman is doing is in violation of the law. Or, at best, a conflict of interest big enough to raise red flags throughout the capitol. From KRS 198B.030 (Warning: External PDF Link):
Neither the commissioner nor any member of his or her staff shall be employed, either directly or indirectly, in any aspect of the building industry as regulated by this chapter while employed by the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction.
Pretty clear, isn’t it? At best, this is a major conflict of interest. At worst, he’s directly in violation of the KRS.
We reached out to Coleman for an explanation but have received none beyond this:
Coleman Family Construction, LLC was never an active entity. Coleman Family Construction, LLC has never engaged in any business activity of any kind at any time.
Which… okay. Deputy Commissioner of the agency forms a business and had no plans for it. Right. Nothing to see here, move along.
There have been no Ethics opinions released on the matter and an open records request for Coleman’s records turned up nothing.
So we’re left to speculation.
What’d he plan to do? Use his position in state government to line his pockets? Conduct business only outside Kentucky? Just test the waters to see if anyone would notice?
Tags: Corruption · Investigation · Spotted
A prominent PR firm (cough) may be the big new thing in Kentucky, according to Business First. That means the company has had the most cash flow through its business in a year.
But what most people don’t know is that the firm is at the forefront of anti-environment efforts in Kentucky. And not just with Kentucky Coal Association money.
Check out the latest media advisory:
Manufacturers, Business Community to Outline Impact of EPA’s New Ozone Standards in Kentucky
Louisville – The Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) will host a statewide media conference call on Wednesday, August 27, at 2:30pm ET to discuss the economic impacts of the Obama Administration’s planned revisions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. New research from the National Association of Manufacturers and NERA Economic Consulting finds that the new standard could cost the state billions and put tens of thousands of jobs at risk. Panelists from throughout the business community will discuss the impact that this rule will have on Kentucky’s economic and employment outlook and the ability of key state industries to continue to create and sustain job growth.
Who: Greg Higdon, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
Chad Harpoole, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Brad Schneider, KYNDLE
Eric King, Kentucky Association of Electrical Cooperatives
What: Media Conference Call
Call-In: (866) REDACTED
When: Wednesday, August 27, 2:30 p.m. EDT
So let’s stop pretending this “war on coal”, anti-EPA nonsense isn’t a fully-funded PR operation in Kentucky.
Tags: Environment · Spotted
This was happening a year ago on the health care front in Kentucky:
Tags: Flashback · Health Care · Steve Beshear