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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Metro Ethics Commission has recommended that Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin be removed from office, and Louisville's Metro Council says it must discuss what happens next to deal with the issue.
In a joint statement, Metro Council President Jim King, Government Accountability and Ethics Committee Chair Jerry Miller, and Vice-Chair Madonna Flood said, "It is never easy to sit in judgment of another person in such a public manner." They went on to say, "Now is the time for the Council to come together and work to address these findings in a way that helps to move this community forward."
Jonathan Ricketts, chairman of the ethics commission added, "By using her position as a council member to obtain grant funds and then having the authority to control and spend those grant funds, Ms. Shanklin used her position to obtain unwarranted privileges for herself."
The commission also recommended a reprimand and censure.
Through her attorney, Aubrey Williams, Shanklin said she is hurt by the decision, but not surprised. She says she will appeal the decision. Williams added, "A lie can get around the world and back can get her boots on. And that's what we have here -- lies and garbage, lies and garbage. Who was it said, 'Much ado about nothing.' I mean it!"
Williams said he doubted metro council would remove Shanklin. "She's beloved" by fellow council members and her constituents. "She's done nothing wrong," he said.
The commission held hearings in November -- Shanklin walked out twice at the direction of her attorney to avoid possibly incriminating herself in testimony.
Shanklin was accused of misusing city money for an upholstery program, employing her grandson while he had outstanding warrants, and a conflict of interest involving a neighborhood association in her district.
She has denied all of the allegations against her.
Government watchdog Richard Beliles sought the ethics commission investigation based on news reports about Shanklin's spending.
Shanklin did not attend Thursday's regularly scheduled council meeting. She had an excused absence, King said.
A special prosecutor is reviewing results of a metro police public integrity unit investigation into the allegations. That investigation could bring a grand jury indictment.