This afternoon, Louisville’s Metro Ethics Commission recommended the removal of Councilwoman Judy Green from office; finding that she violated ethics laws by mishandling funds and improperly paying extra money to her family members. Handing down the harshest penalty available, the Commission voted unanimously to find Green guilty of violating ethics laws on at least four occasions.
Today’s ruling only applied to the "Green Clean Team" complaint against the Democratic councilwoman. An additional complaint, involving the laundering of city government funds through a local non-profit organization, is still pending before the Commission. The complaint alleges that Councilwoman Green demanded a kickback from the 100 Black Men organization, in return for a grant of $7,500 from her office discretionary funds to the nonprofit group, allegedly to be funneled into other groups that lacked federal Section 501(c)(3) tax exemption.
The local press has covered l’affaire Green in meticulous detail. A LEO magazine cover article by Phillip M. Bailey, titled, “It’s not easy being Green,” used details of the 554-page LMPD investigative report release pursuant to a LEO open records request to outline a disappointing series of ethical lapses on the part of the 1st District Democratic councilwoman. This was quickly followed by explosive stories by Courier-Journal reporter Dan Klepal, WHAS-11, FOX-41, and others.
Ray Barker, a former Louisville police officer who ran against Green for the District 1 council seat last year, filed a formal ethics complaint against Councilwoman Green, claiming unethical misbehavior connected with last summer’s “Green Clean Team” jobs program, and allegations concerning $35,000 in city funds missing, and the employment of 12 of Green’s relatives in the project.
Louisville Metro Councilmen Ken Fleming, (Rep. 7th Dist.) and David Tandy (Dem. 4th Dist.) originally introduced a bipartisan ethics reform package; only to see it sabotaged by a group of Democrats—including Councilwoman Green—who favored a more watered-down version. Later, the Metro Council finally passed a modified compromise ethics ordinance. It is under this compromise ordinance that Councilwoman Green was called to answer for her unethical behavior.
The Ethics Commission also imposed the penalties of a letter of censure and a letter of reprimand, but it remains for the full Metro Council to vote on the question of removing Councilwoman Green from office. An earlier LMPD investigation concluded she had behaved “unethically,” but a special prosecutor appointed to review the evidence declined to recommend criminal prosecution.