Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin

Politics
7:55 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Attorney Outlines Defense Strategy

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2,.
Credit Louisville Metro Council

A year after an ethics complaint was filed, the Louisville Metro Council Court will hear the case to remove Democrat Barbara Shanklin from office this week.

Shanklin faces charges that she deliberately violated the the city's code of ethics, which were brought by a 5-member Charging Committee in March.

The councilwoman's ethics troubles began when news reports pertaining to a $30,000 taxpayer-funded upholstery program for ex-offenders began to surface last year.

City records revealed few former inmates attended the program, which was run through the Metro Corrections department. But sign-up sheets did show Shanklin and many of her relatives did participate.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is representing Shanklin. He says Shanklin and her family had a right to participate in the program because they were residents, but points out no one received any undue advantage or public dollars as a result.

"Barbara Shanklin has not received one dime personally nor has any member of her family received any money that they should not have received, if any, in those programs," he says.

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Politics
6:29 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Council Court Delays Ruling on Mayor Greg Fischer Subpoena in Barbara Shanklin Removal Trial

The chair of the Metro Council Court is holding off on deciding whether Mayor Greg Fischer will be compelled to testify at the removal trial of embattled Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin next week.

The councilwoman faces removal from her District 2 council seat for ethics violations that the commission ruled she committed. Shanklin has denied any wrongdoing, but a Charging Committee of five fellow city lawmakers filed a petition seeking her removal from office.

At issue are allegations that Shanklin misused taxpayers money to benefit her friends and family through an upholstery program for ex-offenders. She also faces charges that she controlled public funds allocated to the Petersburg-Newburg Improvement Association given she was a board member who signed for the group's checks.

In a series of rulings, Council President Jim King, who chairs the court, granted subpoenas for witnesses including Shanklin's relatives, city officials and two members of the Metro Ethics Commission.

Attorney Aubrey Williams, who is representing Shanklin, blasted King and Jefferson County Mike O'Connell at a conference earlier this week over what he says have been unfair proceedings.

The subpoenas of nine witnesses on Williams's list were denied due to a lack of issuances, but King did not deny the one for Fischer. Rather, he is questing Shanklin's legal counsel provide more information on why the mayor is being summoned.

"The court reserves ruling on the request for issuance of subpoenas for (Greg Fischer) until (Williams) satisfies the court of the necessity of such subpoenas," King said in the ruling.

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Politics
6:47 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Barbara Shanklin's Attorney Lashes Out at City Officials Over Removal Trial Proceedings

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

A Louisville Metro Council Court hearing turned into a shouting match between city officials and the lawyer representing embattled Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, in her upcoming removal trial.

Shanklin faces ouster from office after a Charging Committee of five council members filed a petition saying she violated three sections of the city's code of ethics.

The chief allegation is that Shanklin used taxpayers funds to benefit her friends and family through an upholstery program for ex-offenders.

The program was set up to help former inmates learn a trade, but city records showed few ex-offenders attending the class while Shanklin and family members did.

Mayor Greg Fischer's office shut down the program in late 2011, but The Courier-Journal discovered the councilwoman's office continued to fund the program with discretionary  through the Petersburg-Newburg Improvement Association, which Shanklin and her niece were listed as board members.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is representing Shanklin. He strongly objected to the council's handling of the proceedings, exhibits and who will be subpoenaed to testify.

At different points Williams lashed out at Council President Jim King, D-10, Charging Committee attorney David Tachau and Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell.

Williams says O'Connell especially has been engaging in unprofessional "shenanigans" leading up to the removal trial.

"Now you be quiet and let me explain," Williams yelled. "You may think you can push district court judges around, but you won't push me around sir. Your behavior is appalling. How you are practicing this case is appalling."

"How dare you," O'Connell barked. "I'm not going to play your games. You accuse me of unprofessional conduct you better put it on the record."

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Politics
2:39 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Called to Testify in Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Removal Trial

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is among a number of city officials being called to testify in the removal trial of Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, which is scheduled to begin next week.

Earlier this year, the Metro Ethics Commission ruled unanimously that Shanklin violated various ethics rules, including funding an ex-offenders upholstery program benefiting her friends and family.

The panel recommended the councilwoman’s ouster from office, and a Charging Committee of five council members filed a petition to begin removal proceedings.

Before the ethics complaints were filed the Fischer administration shut down that upholstery program in Shanklin's district, citing concerns about the lack  former inmates participating

Shanklin is being represented by attorney Aubrey Williams, who refused to comment for this story on why Fischer is being asked to testify before the Metro Council Court.

But in court documents provided to the council clerk, Williams says the mayor is expected to testify about "various matters relating to any laws, policies and procedures" that caused Fischer to halt the program.

Attorney David Tachau is the prosecutor in the removal trial. He says it’s unclear why Shanklin wants the mayor to be called as a witness other than an attempt to throw irrelevant issues into the case.

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Local News
3:51 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin Files Motion To Delay Trial, County Attorney Says Motion Is Flawed

Credit Louisville Metro Government

Embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has filed a second complaint in circuit court and is now seeking to delay her removal hearing next month.

The Metro Ethics Commission said Shanklin violated several provisions of the city’s ethics code.  The commission found, among other things, that Shanklin used her position on the council to allocate public funds to a neighborhood organization she oversaw.

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Politics
2:27 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Ethics Watchdog Group Requests Councilman Dan Johnson Step Down from Shanklin Removal Trial

Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21

The chairman of an ethics watchdog group is questioning whether Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, should serve as a juror on fellow council member Barbara Shanklin’s removal trial.

The 20-member council court convened earlier this week to schedule a hearing after the Ethics Commission ruled Shanklin violated five provisions of the city’s code of ethics.

City lawmakers will sit as a jury to decide whether to oust Shanklin in a trial beginning July 23.

Last September, however, Shanklin’s attorney Aubrey Williams entered an affidavit alleging Johnson told him the commission was prejudiced against his client, and mishandled the proceedings.

"Johnson called ... and informed me that his wife’s sister’s husband was a friend of a certain Commission   member, who had told the friend that the commissioners were out to get Barbara Shanklin," Williams wrote. "That is to say that they had made up their minds to rule against her. He stated that he did not think they were going to be fair to her when the hearing got underway."

Common Cause of Kentucky Chairman Richard Beliles filed the initial ethics complaint against Shanklin. He  says Johnson’s prior interference in the case raises concerns if the south Louisville Democrat can adequately serve on the jury.

"It’s really important that the public has confidence in whatever jury. So from that standpoint, reading about and hearing about the questions about Metro Councilman Dan Johnson, it would seem to me that perhaps he should consider recusing himself from that jury," he says.

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Local News
6:40 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Louisville's Council Court Sets Removal Trial Date For Barbara Shanklin

Credit Louisville Metro Council

The hearing date has been scheduled for the removal trial of embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, but not without her attorney Aubrey Williams’ claiming the process by which Shanklin is being tried is illegal.

The Council Court met Monday for the first time as a court since late councilwoman Judy Green’s removal trial in 2011. 

Louisville’s Ethics Commission found Shanklin guilty of violating several provisions of the city’s ethics code earlier this year.

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Local News
5:24 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Charging Commitee Ready to Move On Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Removal Hearing

Credit Louisville Metro Council

The charging committee that petitioned to remove embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin announced it's ready to move forward with a hearing following its executive session meeting Thursday.

Shanklin was found guilty of violating several provisions of the city’s ethics code this year by Louisville’s Ethics Commission, which recommended she be removed from the council.

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Politics
12:30 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

City Won't Pay Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Attorney for Ethics Appeal Work

Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

The lawyer representing embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, will not be paid with taxpayer money during the appeal of her Ethics Commission case.

The panel ruled last month that Shanklin violated five sections of the city’s code of ethics and recommended her removal from office.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is appealing that decision in circuit court, but in a letter the Jefferson County Attorney’s office advises it will not pay for continued representation of the councilwoman.

Williams did not return WFPL's request for comment on Wednesday, but he told The Courier-Journal's Andrew Wolfson the city is trying to "squirm out of its obligations" and force him to drop Shanklin as a client.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell says the decision was based on the Metro Council amending the ethics ordinance to forbid tax dollars going toward any appeal process.

"The amendment provides that counsel will be provided to council members during an appearance before the ethics commission only. Any appeals of that or any removal hearings counsel is not provided to the council member," he says.

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Politics
6:46 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin Faces Removal Trial

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Five members of the Louisville Metro Council are seeking to remove Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, from office over ethics violations.

Earlier this month, the Metro Ethics Commission ruled that Shanklin violated five provisions of the city's ethics code and recommended her ouster.

The Charging Committee is made up of Democrats Tina Ward-Pugh, Vicki Aubrey Welch and Madonna Flood; and Republicans Jerry Miller and James Peden.

Attorney David Tachau will represent the committee and prosecute the case.

He says because the Council Court will have subpoena powers the removal trial will reveal a number of facts and testimonies the ethics hearings could not uncover.

"I do know that Councilwoman Shanklin essentially did not testify and obviously this committee is interested in letting her have her say and address the issues that have been raised by the Ethics Commission and that are in the charging complaint. There are other family members this committee may choose to request a subpoena for," he says.

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