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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Alleging Fischer Misled Donors, Local Businessman Joins KREF Complaint

Louisville businessman Ed Hart says Mayor Greg Fischer misled donors about how their contributions to his inauguration were spent, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election.

The paperwork was submitted to the state agency a month after an initial complaint was filed by Metro Council candidate Curtis Morrison. The case alleges Fischer pulled a “bait and switch” by soliciting funds for last year’s mayoral inauguration, then using them to help retire his personal campaign debt.

Attorney Jennifer Moore, who is representing Fischer, said in a response to Morrison’s complaint that all of the checks were deposited and reported properly. Moore points out that Hart and others made their checks payable to “Greg Fischer for Mayor” and not the inaugural celebration.

In a letter to the mayor and KREF officials, however, Hart wrote he was told to do that by the mayor’s campaign staff and is disappointed Fischer is misleading the public.

“Rather than admitting our contributions were used for the wrong purpose—whether unintentionally or not—you have instead mounted a spurious defense to a complaint on this matter,” he says. “Essentially, your defense consists of accusing me and the seven other individuals in our group of donors of not telling the truth.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Council Members Question Whether Donor Pulls Strings in Fischer Administration

The caucus leaders of the Louisville Metro Council have asked Mayor Greg Fischer to clarify the role of high-profile contributor Tommy Elliott in making mayoral appointments. And some city lawmakers could also request Elliott testify before the government accountability committee next year.

Elliott donated $2,000 to Fischer’s election campaign last year and also served as co-chair of his inauguration committee. And though the Old National Bank Senior Vice President and Kentucky Retirement Systems board member is not part of the Fischer administration, a Metro employee or a city consultant, the mayor calls Elliott an adviser on matters such as re-opening the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.

In a May 19 memo, council members Kelly Downard, R-16, and Ken Fleming, R-7, inquired about appointments to local fire boards. The initial message was also sent to Elliott because potential appointees said he was the administration’s contact person for appointments and was deciding who would receive nominations.

A June 8 memo sent to the mayor’s office signed by Fleming and Councilwoman Madonna Flood, D-24, requested a comprehensive list of all mayoral appointees made since Fischer took office. The message also addressed Elliott’s role in the decision-making process and asked that he testify before the appropriate committee.

“While we appreciate the work that Rhonda Williams has done in presenting mayoral appointees to the Metro Council, it is our understanding that Tommy Elliott is actually leading the appoint process on your behalf,” Fleming and Flood wrote. “If that is accurate, we believe Mr. Elliott is the individual who should be present at the Contracts and Appointments Committee meetings to discuss appointments and answer any questions from the committee members.”

Fleming says council members have taken a renewed interest in Elliot’s role in the administration, particularly after it was revealed that the Louisville banker helped funnel funds meant for Fischer’s inauguration to help repay the mayor’s personal debt to the campaign.