Wed July 24, 2013
Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Ethics Trial Focuses On Record Keeping, Transactions
Louisville Metro’s internal auditor says there were two questions he considered when reviewing the relationship between Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin and the ex-offender program she helped oversee: did her relatives benefit and was there double billing?
Ingram Quick was the second witness to testify for Shanklin’s removal trial since it began Monday. The Council Court--made up of 20 council members who act as jury--will decide whether she can stay on the Metro Council.
The ex-offender upholstery program ended in November 2011 after Metro Corrections learned that few ex-offenders attended. By that time it had received $78,000 of public funds.
Quick’s audit of the program found that of 101 sign-in sheets, 58 contained signatures of either Shanklin or her relatives.There were 89 sign-in sheets where only one person signed in, the documents showed.
Quick says this could be a potential conflict of interest.
Further, he says it could not be determined if funds were used appropriately for the program, according to the documentation available. But Quick said payments to Linda Haywood, who provided services to the program through her operation New Expressions, were coming from checks that included Shanklin’s home address.
Prosecutor David Tachau says that Shanklin advanced Haywood payments, which were supposedly paid back to Shanklin in cash. But Quick said that Haywood did not have receipts for the transactions.
“Councilwoman Shanklin told you that she was almost certain that Linda Haywood paid back the $1,200 that councilwoman Shanklin had written three checks for, is that correct?” asked Tachau.
“Yes,” Quick said.
Shanklin attorney Aubrey Williams contends that nobody held the program accountable and that not one council member questioned its funding.
Several council members asked about the broad scope of the program’s agreement.
Former FBI agent Jim Sniegocki also testified Tuesday, saying he looked at bank statements from the Newburg Community Council and the Petersburg-Newburg Improvement Association--which Shanklin was involved with--to consider if money that went to Haywood went back to either group. He concluded that there were no cash deposits made by any group or person that met the amounts Haywood received for her services rendered.
Further, Sniegocki says he reviewed Haywood’s bank account records to see how much cash she removed to see if it matched amounts given to her by Shanklin or either group. He concluded Haywood had withdrawn more than enough cash to make the reimbursements to Shanklin but that no further documentation exists.
Metro Corrections paid Haywood a total of $29,600 for her services between March 2007 and December 2011.
Williams also cross-examined yesterday’s witness and the council’s financial advisor Beth Stenberg, who said she doesn’t remember speaking to Shanklin about the ‘public purpose’ of the ex-offender program, but said forums like committee and council meetings allow those discussions to happen.
Shanklin also used some of the ex-offender money for other programs, which was questioned by the prosecutor and some council members.
“In my work with the budget committee, I wouldn’t have expected that that program [money] would have been spent on anything but a program for ex-offenders whatever that would include," said Stenberg.
Williams blamed the Metro Council and County Attorney’s Office for lack of oversight and say they both review documentation related to the program before it's approved.
The trial is expected to last through the week.