Shanklin's ethics hearing under way - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shanklin's ethics hearing under way

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Barbara Shanklin Barbara Shanklin
Attorney James Earhart Attorney James Earhart
Attorney Aubrey Williams Attorney Aubrey Williams

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The ethics hearing for embattled Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin started at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The hearing is much like a trial, but is being held in the mayor's gallery, which was converted into a makeshift courtroom. Attorneys on both side even gave opening statements.

Attorney James Earhart laid out the accusations against Shanklin. He says her family members were the only beneficiaries of a taxpayer-funded program that was supposed to help former inmates learn how to upholster furniture.

Shanklin is under fire for putting her grandson, Gary Bohler, on the city payroll as her aide even though he had outstanding warrants. Earhart says Bohler received at least one paycheck while he was incarcerated. Shanklin's also accused of being part of a neighborhood association board that sought money from the Metro Council, as well as writing checks for the Peterson/Newburg Improvement Association without disclosing her involvement to the council.

Shanklin's attorney, Aubrey Williams, fired back, saying she did everything out in the open, has nothing to hide and had "no evil intent in what she did." Williams talked at length about Shanklin's positive accomplishments while serving on the Metro Council.

Williams told the Ethics Commission -- who is acting as a jury and will ultimately decide her fate -- to forget about all the negative criticism Shanklin has received, saying the media hasn't been telling the full story.

"Not one dime -- not one penny -- did she put in her pocket," Williams said.

Each attorney will call witnesses to support their claims.

If found guilty of the ethics violations, Shanklin could be reprimanded or even removed from office. If she's cleared, no further action will be taken.

Shanklin is the second Metro Council member to face an ethics hearing since Judy Green came under scrutiny in 2011. Green later resigned amid accusations that she mishandled taxpayer grant money and steered grants to others.

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