Chris Thieneman, a Louisville real estate developer, recently made local headlines for criticism of Mayor Jerry Abramson's financial dealings with The Cordish Group, the Baltimore-based development group that was involved in the development of Louisville's Fourth Street Live entertainment and retail district.
Thieneman criticized the mayor's decision to give The Cordish Group millions of dollars in grant money for its lack of transparency.
He has also roundly criticized Mayor Jerry Abramson for using the city-county merger as an opportunity to hide records of financial dealings.
"Jerry Abramson claims when we voted for merger we gave him an executive privilege to keep financial records from anyone who might question his judgment," Thieneman said in a guest editorial for Fox 41. "Even other elected officials. He says it's the will of the people even though the privilege idea didn't surface until two years after the merger vote.
"What we have here is the kind of financial secrecy that breeds financial mismanagement and disasters like the Housing Department scandal we just went through and the botched library tax fiasco.I shudder to think what might be hiding at the Water Company, or MSD, or anywhere else in his department's books."
Thieneman told Fox 41's Bennett Haeberle that now is the time for non-politicians to get into politics.
"This is our time," he said. "I think that people are noticing that their voice is being heard. There is so much of the underdog that the citizens of Louisville want to succeed and they see me as their leader."
He added that his campaign is not just a hobby for him. He says he's in it to win -- and he says he's invested too much to lose.
"I've put up quite a bit of my own money to show that I'm just not in it to pretend," Thieneman said. "I think that makes a statement. I've told all of my supporters, ‘I've put up $100,000 and I would just like you to help match that because I think that's what it's going to take for the primary. They realize that that's a lot of money and I think it's a good showing that I'm not doing it just to get airtime."
Thieneman is widely known throughout Louisville for The Mint Jubilee, a Derby-eve event that he co-founded. According to the official bio posted on his Web site, the Mint Jubilee has raised over $1 million for cancer research at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.