Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin

3:10 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Ethics Watchdog Files Complaint Against Shanklin

The chairman of Common Cause of Kentucky has filed a complaint with the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission against Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, citing a series of media reports over the past two months.

It alleges Shanklin violated the Metro Government code of ethics by using her office to benefit herself and her relatives. Earlier this week, the county attorney advised council members to not launch their own investigation into Shaklin's handling of an upholstery program until the city auditor and the Metro Police Public Integrity Unit complete their review.

Common Cause Chairman Richard Beliles says news reports have raised serious questions about Shanklin's decision-making and use of taxpayer dollars that need to be answered, but he isn't seeking her removal from office.

"She has a right to defend herself and to see what proof comes out of the hearings. I hope she's got real good reasons to prove she's done nothing wrong. We're not out to get her, but we are interested in protecting the public interest," he says. "I'm a lawyer and we can't jump to conclude that somebody is guilty, but I believe that my complaint shows these are issues that should be raised to protect the public."

Read more
4:58 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Miller Says Metro Council Will Let Auditor, LMPD Investigate Shanklin

Louisville Metro Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, says he agrees with the Jefferson County Attorney that the Government Accountability and Ethics Committee should hold off on investigating purported ethics violations by Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2.

He also confirmed that the Louisville Metro Police Public Integrity Unit is investigating the matter. Shanklin has not been contacted by the LMPD and a majority caucus spokesman says the LMPD has not pulled any records from the council.

Read more
4:27 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Shanklin Furious With Fischer Administration Over C-J Comments

Louisville Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, has spurned an invitation from Mayor Greg Fischer, citing his administration's comments regarding the use of city grants for an upholstery job training program.

Last Friday, a Fischer spokesman told The Courier-Journal  the program for ex-offenders should have ended on November 14 as ordered by the city and that it appears "city tax dollars are not spent as they’re intended to be." It was discovered that Shanklin continued to fund the program and personally signed an $836 check despite Metro Corrections ending it due to a lack of former inmate referrals.

"The published reports raise concerns with Dr. Shanklin over how the mayor's office has responded," says Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt, confirming that Shanklin called Fischer's office to reject an invitation to celebrate renovations at Petersburg Park in District 2 later this week.

According to Hyatt, Shanklin says corrections tried to kill the upholstery training while two people were still going through the course, and that the neighborhood association decided to finish out the last month of training.

Read more
3:35 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Ackerson Wants Government Accountability Panel to Investigate Shanklin

Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26.
Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilman Brent Ackerson, D-26, is calling on the government accountability committee to investigate Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, who has been embroiled in a series of scandals.

Since May, Shanklin has faced mounting questions about the use of citys grants from her office, particularly for an upholstery training program for ex-convicts that served no former inmates but that she and her relatives participated in.

The city's internal audit is conducting a review of the jobs program and a report is pending.

It has also been reported that $3,000 in taxpayer money went to Shanklin's family members through funding of the Petersburg-Newburg Neighborhood Association, which she is a board member. Until last year, Shanklin has personally signed checks to the group  since 2005.

An audit of council discretionary spending found a lack monitoring in the majority of those grants, but the report called out Shanklin specifically for having a conflict of interest in funding the neighborhood group while being a board member.

Ackerson says he is concerned about the oversight of taxpayer dollars as well as media reports, adding he wants to know the full story behind Shanklin's controversies.

"Controversy such as this do not bode will for government period. There's a lot of questions that are raised about discretionary funds. Negative stories out there that don't talk about everything and don't give government a chance to address those, all they do is create improper conclusions. And I'm a firm believer in discretionary funds and what they can do for an area," he says.

Read more
5:12 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Audit Finds Poor Documentation of Council Discretionary Funds

An internal audit has found half of the grant from the Louisville Metro Council lacked sufficient documentation to determine if the discretionary funds were spent as intended.

Last year, Council President Jim King, D-10, ordered the review in the wake of the ethics controversy involving former Councilwoman Judy Green, who was booted from office over misuse of Neighborhood Development Funds.

The audit looked at 117 grants over the past two fiscal years totaling more $1.9 million in taxpayer dollars and found no wrongdoing. However, it showed the majority of the council’s Neighborhood Development Funds had missing proof of payment, unallowable expenditures or poor documentation to account for the grants.

"The audit was difficult to conduct in that there was a lack of monitoring in place prior to the new administration being there," says Internal Auditor Ingram Quick, adding the lack of documentation of the grants is troubling.

Among the findings are approximately $238,000 of expenditures in which proof of payment was not provided to the city. It also found inconsistencies and a vague criteria for non-profit groups receiving city funds, including over $6,500 in funds that were spent out of compliance with Metro Government rules.

Read more
5:29 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Shanklin Launches Radio Show Amid Series of Scandals

Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is launching a radio show amid growing scandals over city spending in her office.

The embattled city lawmaker has faced mounting criticism for her actions, including hiring her felon grandson as her legislative aide at a $34,000 annual salary. Shanklin was also questioned about lobbying for a jobs program for ex-convicts that served no former inmates but that she and family members participated in.

Earlier this week, it was reported that $3,000 in taxpayer money has gone to her relatives through funding of a neighborhood association in checks that she personally signed since 2005.

Now Shanklin is teaming up with gospel station WLOU 1350 AM to create "Speakerphone," a weekly radio broadcast that will debut this Saturday at Noon.

Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt says Shanklin wants to discuss issues affecting teenagers and young adults in her district, and won’t address those controversies on her show.

"Speakerphone is primarily for young people to talk about what’s on their mind. I don’t see it as being an opportunity for the councilwoman to speak on any particular thing she’s being involved with over the last couple of weeks," he says.

Read more
8:00 am
Sun June 24, 2012

City Grants Paid Shanklin's Relatives

Family members of Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, have received over $3,000 in taxpayer money from a city grant that the lawmaker has personally signed checks for since 2005.

For the past seven years, the Petersburg/Newburg Improvement Association has received $150,000 in city funding, of which Shanklin and several relatives belong to.

From The Courier-Journal:

Among those who benefited were the mother of Shanklin’s grandson, who received $1,700; her son-in-law, $1,325; and Walker, who got $650 for repairing the floor in a small house the city donated to the neighborhood group.

Read more
5:49 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Shanklin Defends Actions, Blames Corrections for Jobs Program Controversy

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is responding to a story about a city funded ex-offenders program that served her and the councilwoman's relatives more than former inmates.

The upholstery-training program cost over $30,000, but was put to a stop by Mayor Greg Fischer's administration when questions were raised about the lack of ex-convict referrals. Records show most of the classes were attended by less than a handful of participants but that Shanklin and her son used the program.

In a telephone interview with WFPL, Shanklin said any lack of documentation was the fault of Metro Corrections and a pending internal audit would show no wrongdoing on her part.

Read more
10:52 am
Sun June 10, 2012

Jobs Program Gives Shanklin More Ethics Troubles, Questions

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is embroiled in another controversy that could result in ethics charges.

The Courier-Journal has reported that Shanklin administered a jobs program meant for ex-offenders since 2007, which has apparently only served her and the councilwoman's relatives. The upholstery-training program was funded by the council for nearly $30,000, but was halted by Mayor Greg Fischer's administration after questions were raised about the lack of referrals.

The newspaper learned that few offenders participated, but Shanklin and her family members took advantage of the program's benefits despite the councilwoman's earlier denials.

From the Courier-Journal:

The program was bankrolled from the metro government’s general fund, with money routed through Metro Corrections. It was halted after corrections Director Mark Bolton expressed concern about the program to the city’s chief financial officer, Steve Rowland.

Bolton said in a Courier-Journal interview that his department was never asked to refer ex-offenders to the program, which he described as “goofy” in an email to a corrections staff member just before it was halted.

Read more