Green Faces Second Ethics Hearing Today

by admin on May 23, 2011

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission will hold another hearing on charges against Metro Councilwoman Judy Green Monday. It is the second ethics hearing she has faced in less than a month.

Green is accused of breaking council rules by instructing a non-profit group to reroute $5,600 in city funds to other agencies at her discretion.

In 2009, Green allegedly told officers with 100 Black Men to ask for more money than the organization needed in order to give out the additional funds to groups not listed on the original application at her discretion, including the purchase of tickets for a Kentucky Derby fundraiser that she attended.

During an interview with the Courier-Journal, Green blamed her former legislative aide for the mistake, saying she took training on Neighborhood Discretionary Fund expenditures and told the councilwoman that the arrangement was proper. In a Metro Police report, however, that aide told investigators she only picked up the paperwork for the grant applications.

Also, Green served two years  on the council’s Appropriations Committee, which have those rules provided to city lawmakers at each meeting. It has been confirmed that Councilman Robin Engel, R-22, vice-chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has been asked to testify about those rules and policies at Monday’s hearing.

Community activist Ed Springston, who filed the second complaint, says Green has clearly violated council rules by making a side agreement with the organization and needs to be held accountable.

“When you intentionally over inflate a grant and then you do that so you can redirect money to places that are going to benefit you personally as an elected official that’s a problem,” he says.

Last month, Green testified for over two hours at another ethics hearing involving the first complaint against her. In that case, she was accused of using a city-funded summer jobs program—dubbed the “Green Clean Team”—to benefit members of her family.

The verdict in that case is still awaiting the completion of the proceedings depositions.

The trial-like proceedings will feature a hearing investigator—attorney James Earthart—who will argue the case against Green. The councilwoman has been provided two taxpayer funded attorneys who will defend her during the case.

Green’s attorneys did not return our request for comment.

The seven members of the ethics commission will vote on whether to uphold the hearing officer’s findings or dismiss the charges. According to the city’s ethics law, the commission has a number of rulings it can make.

Unintentional ethics violations can result in no penalty or a letter of reprimand. Intentional violations allow for a range of punishments, including a public censure, fines and removal from office.

Since the conclusion of the first hearing, Council President Jim King, D-10, has hired a special attorney to advise council members on what steps—if any—should be taken once both cases conclude.

Despite warnings from Green’s attorneys that the council president should let the ethics commission finish its investigative process first, King says hiring an attorney is not sign of the council tip-toeing towards removing Green from office.

However, Springston says the ethics commission and Metro Council cannot ignore the facts of the case, and public pressure against Green is mounting.

“Judy Green manipulates and lies and cheats and steals in everything she does in my opinion,” he says. “She seems to be the biggest crook in my opinion. I think her history and her record is clear in that regard. And I think that ultimately my case is a slam drunk.”

The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on the fourth floor of the old Jefferson County Courthouse, 527 W. Jefferson St.

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