The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission voted to continue the hearing involving Councilwoman Judy Green until April 28.
Green has been accused of using a city-funded summer jobs program to benefit members of her family. Another complaint filed last week alleges she broke council rules by instructing a non-profit group to reroute city money to other agencies.
The hearing was rescheduled over the objections of Green and her attorney, Kent Wicker, who said the councilwoman has been beaten up by the local news media.
“Councilwoman Green has been subjected to 10 weeks of unrelenting negative press coverage as a result of these charges,” he said.
During the proceedings, Wicker made a motion to dismiss the complaint brought by Ray Barker Sr., a retired police officer who ran against Green in last year’s Democratic primary. The motion was on a technicality that Barker had failed to fill out the witness paperwork proper. The commission overruled and instead voted to reschedule at a later date in order to give the hearing officer more time to investigate.
“We want to hear all the evidence. We’re not on anybody’s side,” said ethics commission member Gus Daleure, adding that Barker’s mistakes did not affect the charges presented.
On April 28, ethics officer James Earhart will make a recommendation to the commission on whether to combine two complaints against the councilwoman or to hear them separately.
“I think it will happen fairly quickly,” he says. “It’s a case that can be assembled in a relatively short period of time. Even between now and April 28 isn’t a long period, but it’s a case that it was kind of unreasonable to assemble within 5 to 10 days, and that’s where the real bind came in,” he says.
Barker filed the initial complaint in January, alleging that Green violated the city’s ethics ordinance in her operation of a jobs-for-youth summer—dubbed the Green Clean Team— funded by tax dollars.
Last week, community activist Ed Springston filed a complain that accuses Green of rerouting city funds through 100 Black Men.
Two years ago, Green directed officers with the group to ask for a $7,500 grant for a mentoring program. She then told the organization to givea third of that money to other organizations at her discretion even though they were not listed on the application, including the purchase of tickets for a Kentucky Derby fundraiser that she attended.
After the hearing adjourned, Barker told WFPL News he’s glad the commission has decided to move forward with the case and will considering hearing both complaints.
“I feel good about it because the ethics board is after the truth,” he says. “This is not a hurry up and fix process. They want to make sure that the truth is being heard no matter what the truth is.”