Highlighting controversies from his last term as mayor of Louisville, the Republican Party of Kentucky is calling on Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Abramson to reimburse Metro Government $85,000 due to a former assistant’s salary.
Last year, longtime employee Carol Butler, a personal friend of Abramson who served as his special assistant, resigned after an audit raised questions about her role in producing a book about the history of Louisville’s neighborhoods.
A police investigation later revealed Butler was paid $85,000 annually, but rarely showed up for the part-time job, according to co-workers.
From the Courier-Journal:
Employees in the department told police that despite her salary, Butler was rarely seen in the office.
Kinney Hoffman, the department deputy director, said she never even realized that Butler had been transferred into her department. ‘Carol is very close to the mayor,’ Kinney Hoffman said. ‘I never knew she was a member of our department. I mean, she was making $85,000 a year part time with benefits…’”
“Paul Schuhmann…told police he had an office in the department, three doors down from Butler. ‘Carol was in the office once or twice a month, if that often,’ Schuhmann told police. ‘It was incredible. I don’t know how someone’s making the amount of money she’s making and … you never see her.’”
The investigation also uncovered that Butler’s book publishing company received $14,900 from the city for the book, which was never published. However, Butler repaid the money once she resigned.
“At a time when Kentucky families are tightening their belts and Steve Beshear has driven unemployment up over 10 percent, it is inexcusable that Jerry Abramson appears to have spent $85,000 per year on a no-show job for his buddy,” Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson said in a statement. “If Abramson passed out free money to a phantom employee on the taxpayer dime, then in the spirit of running mates reimbursing the taxpayers, Jerry Abramson should be the first to step up to the plate.”
Robertson also challenged Abramson to answer the following questions:
How many years did this so-called “employee” work for you?
How much did she make during those years?
How much do you plan to pay back to the taxpayers?
When will you cut the check?
Abramson is running with Gov. Steve Beshear, who is unopposed in the May 17 primary.