Louisville is home to one of the most famous sporting events in the world: The Kentucky Derby. During the first weekend in May, Hollywood celebrities, famous athletes and many other well-to-do put on their best hats and head to Louisville for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
I’m not a native Louisvillian but even I can tell you that Derby is about much more than “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.” There are concerts and boat races and charity events. Restaurants and bars create special menus. It feels kind of like a holiday.
There are also a lot of fancy parties. And one of the fanciest is Mayor Greg Fischer’s. This year, Fischer’s Derby weekend guests stayed at the brand-new Omni Hotel, drank bonded bourbon, dined on braised lamb, were chauffeured to the racetrack, and for two days, watched races from the posh sixth floor Skye Terrace at Churchill Downs.
So, who did Fischer entertain? LeBron? Elon Musk? Bill and Melinda Gates? Oprah? Can’t say, because while Fisher’s invite-only Derby weekend cost taxpayers about $109,000 this year, the guest list remains a secret, all in the name of economic development. Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, the city’s chief economic development officer, said that publicly identifying attendees would have a “chilling effect” on their future participation.
As Metro Council is considering an ordinance that would force Fischer to disclose his Derby guest list, city reporter Amina Elahi looked into how other cities operate. Amina joins us today to tell us what she found.