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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The city's ethics commission formalized charges against embattled councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, hiring two people to act as a judge and a prosecutor during her upcoming ethics hearing.
The commission claims there is evidence Shanklin used her office to her advantage by hiring her grandson, taking part in a tax-funded program designed to teach ex convicts how to upholster furniture and sitting on a neighborhood association that sought money from the Metro Council.
Shanklin is also accused of writing checks for the Peterson/Newburg Improvement Association, and failing to disclose that to the council, the commission claims.
During the hearing, chairman Jonathan Ricketts said a hearing on October 25th will help determine whether or not Shanklin:
- Used her office to secure unwarranted privileges for herself and family members.
- Took action in her official capacity in the Peterson/Newburg Improvement Association, which might have impaired her objectivity and judgment.
- Failed to disclose her interest in the (neighborhood association) that required action by Metro Council, her involvement in that neighborhood organization, including but not limited to signing checks.
- Used her involvement in an ex-offender upholstery program that benefited herself and family members.
Questions have been raised about Shanklin's hiring of her grandson, Gary Bohler, who while working as her aide on the city's payroll had outstanding warrants. Shanklin later fired him.
The ethics commission last week set the hearing date, claiming Shanklin violated six sections of the city's ethics ordinance.
Shanklin did not attend the hearing, but her attorney denied she's done anything wrong.
"My client hasn't done anything wrong, period," said Aubrey Williams. "There is an explanation for everything she did."
Things became heated first when Williams was denied the opportunity to speak.
"You're out of order," said Ricketts.
Williams later became agitated with a reporter's question about whether Shanklin has violated the public trust.
"You're, absurd, you're absurd!" he said. "Any more questions?"
Williams said the October 25th hearing will determine if Shanklin violated the city's ethics ordinance. The Commission has hired Ann Sheadel and Jim Earhart to serve as hearing officer and investigative officer, respectively.