Kentucky government corruption
|Report It •||The Good •||The Bad •||The Ugly|
At this time, the financial information on the site only goes through June 30, the end of the last full city fiscal year. The city will update the information only at the end of each new fiscal year.
The city spent about $5,000 to set up the website. Steve Haag, spokesman for the Republican council minority caucus, said the city put the website in the advisory hands of the metro information technology staff. The money came from the discretionary accounts of council members Ken Fleming, R-7th District, and Hal Heiner, R-19th, the primary sponsors of the ordinance.
"The state Transportation Cabinet yesterday declined to release a report raising questions about possible conflicts of interest of two of its high-ranking officials who resigned last week.
The report is part of an ongoing investigation, and records of such investigations are not subject to release until the investigation is complete, according to a letter from the cabinet's Office of Legal Services."
Northern Kentucky Action, a joint effort of the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Northern Kentucky Health Department, St. Elizabeth Hospital, is sponsoring the measure.
The stadium is being funded by the development of a "Signature TIF" which will divert $200 million of taxpayers money over 30 years to the development of downtown Bowling Green. The stadium is serving as one of the largest investments. Investor Art Solomon has pledged to buy a minor league affiliated team if the city will commit to building the stadium., Along with the baseball stadium the DRA intends to invest in a upscale hotel, a small conference center, an 800 space parking garage, shops, restaurants and apartments.
In response to the denied records, the Attorney General's office issued an opinion on October 23 stating that that city violated the Kentucky Open Records Act. The opinion stated, "Although Mr. Tobia's request was broad in scope, the council failed to demonstrate the existence of an unreasonable burden in producing the requested records." The city was given 30 days to appeal the opinion, which it has failed to do.
Democrats Circuit Clerk Chester Jones and former Judge-Executive Sherman Neace pleaded not guilty Wednesday.
Last November, Neace, 68, ran for magistrate and Jones, 65, ran for a seat on the county school board. The former officials allegedly directed $7,500, which the state Democratic Party gave Perry County Democrats to improve voter turnout last November, to buy votes for themselves.
The indictment charged Jones with signing 75 $100 checks and leaving the payee information blank. Allegedly, the two then split them and handed out some to buy votes and gave some to others to buy votes for them.
Former circuit clerk and state representative Jones chairs the Perry County Democratic Executive Committee. Former Perry County judge-executive Neace served three terms before losing re-election in 1998.
June 6, 2008: The city of Bowling Green may have a problem funding all of the expectations of its leaders in FY 2009. Bowling Green will work under an 8.7% leaner budget in the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2009, according to city manager Kevin DeFebbo. He claims this impending drop in tax revenues is due to a sharp drop in local economic growth. Fuel and pension costs are rising sharply, while state and federal funds are drying up. New funding requirements this year include the establishment of two special reserve funds to back $29.5 million in bonds for the Inter-Modal Transportation Authority, issued in a refinancing plan last year; and to back $25 million in bonds for downtown redevelopment that commissioners plan to issue this year.
Commissioners were handed eight documents containing the latest revisions to a series of agreements on downtown redevelopment, and asked to pass two ordinances approving them and issuing $25 million in bonds to start the project. Commissioners grumbled at being asked to approve 250 pages of legal documents without a chance to read them; and while they passed a first reading on the documents themselves by a 3-2 margin, with commissioners Bruce Wilkerson and Joe Denning opposed.
April 26, 2007: The Board of Commissioners of the City of Bowling Green, Kentucky met in special session to consider a Downtown Redevelopment Plan and Memorandum of Understanding and to include discussion of tax increment financing (TIF) directly related to this plan. ,
July 31, 2007: Ordinance No. BG2007 - 33 passed unanimously by the City Commission authorized the TIF district on July 31, 2007. Attorney James Parsons reiterated that there was no financial risk to the City and that the City was only pledging a portion of the incremental revenues received from the TIF district. Comm. Wilkerson noted that with the TIF structure, 80% of state generated revenues in the District
The Bluegrass Institute has called on Governor Steve Beshear to place a greater value on creating a more transparent government. The Governor has expressed hesitancy towards the project and recently the Library Board has decided to follow suite.
Below is instructions on the Library's attempt at transparency quote in the blog:
If you go to the Kenton County Public Library site, then click on "About Us" near the top of the page, click on "Administration," then click on "Board of Trustees," and then go down to the bottom of that page and click on "2008-2009 Budget," you come to a spreadsheet that lists where the library's $10.04 million in income comes from.
Library Director Dave Schroeder has said currently there has been no further discussion of government transparency.
"The Louisville Metro Council has approved an e-transparency ordinance.
The measure calls for the creation of a website to provide public access to Metro Government financial information."
"The Kentucky Press Association is opposing provisions in legislation that would exempt records of a proposed investigative arm of the General Assembly from the state open-records law.
"Records addressed in this legislation, in our opinion, should be open to the public," said Ashley Pack, general counsel for the Kentucky Press Association. "In fact, the very nature of this new division highlights the reason why the public should be involved.""
"State Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, claims he would never restrict the public’s access to records. Yet that’s exactly what he wants to do with his bill to ban the broadcast of “911” calls on TV, radio or the Internet.
Some “911” chatter can embarrass callers and capture highly emotional moments, Schickel said. His pandering to “privacy” advocates also includes a totally unfounded charge that broadcast outlets use replays of these calls to boost ratings. Show me the evidence, Mr. Schickel.
His bill represents nothing more than an end-run around the Kentucky Open Records Act — something a lot of politicians love to do and often justify by playing the “privacy” card. Too many lawmakers are willing to close public business faster than big bank CEOs can cash a bonus check."
"The legislature should avoid whittling away at the public's access to government records without a very compelling reason.
Senate Bill 30, which would limit public access to 911 emergency tapes, fails that test.
Though well intended, SB 30 is a poorly thought out solution to a mostly non-existent problem."
"A measure that would prevent 911 calls from being broadcast on TV and radio cleared its first legislative hurdle on Thursday and now heads to the Senate floor for a vote.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure that is garnering strong support among GOP lawmakers, despite the pleas of broadcasters who say the proposal smacks of censorship.
"It certainly starts us down a very slippery slope," said Nancy Cox, a news anchor with WLEX-TV in Lexington."
"The Louisville Arena Authority “subverted the intent” of Kentucky’s open records laws by not giving a Louisville construction executive timely access to documents he was seeking as part of a lawsuit, according to Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.
The opinion, released last week, also found that the authority violated state law by failing to give a detailed explanation for delays in providing records to William W. Chilton III, who has sued the arena planners after being passed over for a subcontract on the downtown project."
"The two Blue Grass Airport officials who accompanied former executive director Michael A. Gobb to a Dallas strip club, where they spent thousands of dollars, were identified Friday as operations director John Coon and planning and development director John Slone.
Airport attorney Thomas Halb leib said records show that $5,080 was charged to the Millenium Restaurants Group, which operates the Cabaret Royale club.
Halbleib said that the strip club visit was on Nov. 16, 2004, not in 2003, as he had told the Herald-Leader earlier this week, and the total amount spent was higher than he was initially told."
"Michael Gobb, executive director of Blue Grass Airport for the last decade, resigned Friday morning at a special meeting of the airport board that had been called to discuss whether he should be disciplined or fired. Meanwhile, airport board chairman Bernard Lovely confirmed that new questions about Gobb's expenses have arisen, specifically whether he used other airport officials' credit cards for his own expenditures and whether those expenses were for the airport.
Gobb's resignation is effective immediately."
"The future of Blue Grass Airport Executive Director Michael Gobb is in doubt after his indefinite suspension with pay while his expenses are reviewed. Airport Board Chairman Bernard Lovely informed the airport staff Tuesday morning of the decision to suspend Gobb.
"I'm very disappointed that we had to take this step in respect to Mike," Lovely said. "He has done much for the airport and this community. .... But there have been recent media and other reports that have raised questions about Mike's conduct" regarding travel expenses."
"WAVE 3 has learned the Metro's employee unions are planning to take the city and Mayor Jerry Abramson to court.
Last week, all of the major unions, with the exception of the Teamsters, filed an open records request with the city. It asked for Abramson to turn over financial documents relating to the budget shortfall."
"State Sen. Tom Buford was one of at least seven legislators who got word recently of the state's $456 million revenue shortfall while attending a convention of lawmakers in Duck Key, Fla., at taxpayers' expense.
The convention, which dealt with insurance issues, was the 30th in less than three years for Buford, a Nicholasville Republican who is chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. State records show that the first 29 trips have cost taxpayers $43,416 in salary and expenses, more than any other legislator."
"Pineville Mayor Bob Madon resigned after a city council meeting in the aftermath of being indicted on federal vote buying charges during the 2006 mayoral election.
Councilwoman Diana Anderson will act as the interim mayor.
<ref>tags exist, but no
<references/>tag was found