Councilwoman Shanklin admits to 'mistakes' during ethics trial - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Councilwoman Shanklin admits to 'mistakes' during ethics trial

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin admitted to making mistakes two or three times on the witness stand Tuesday during the ethics trial that could remove her from office.

Her admissions came late during her second straight day of testimony.

"There may have been mistakes but I helped my community," Shanklin said.

That was the first of other similar admissions to "mistakes" that Shanklin made as the prosecutor tried to argue Shanklin failed to disclose a conflict of interest: that she allowed a man, James Flowers, who lived in her home to ask for city grant money while he was acting president of a neighborhood group she controlled.

Tachau had earlier pressed Shanklin on allowing her niece, Diana Walker, to serve as interim president on the Petersburg/Newburg Improvement Association and appear before council asking for grant money. Walker testified she never attended any of the neighborhood group's meetings, but did appear before council once and allowed Shanklin's aides to sign her name on grant applications. 

Tachau: "You'll take responsibility for what you did?"

Shanklin: "I take full responsibility for what I've done. I have made mistakes, there was no intent to make these mistakes. I have worked hard in the community."

Shanklin's argument before and throughout her ethics trial has been that she is a "grassroots" councilperson who has helped her community through various programs.

But prosecutor David Tachau has relied on sign-in sheets, bank records, canceled checks and grant applications to argue that Shanklin and her family members took advantage of some of those same programs -- often times with sloppy bookkeeping and conflicts of interest.

Tachau spent most of Tuesday afternoon focused on Neighborhood Development Grants, questioning Diana Walker for more than an hour about her role as interim president of one of the neighborhood groups - the Petersburg/Newburg Improvement Association.

"And like I stated earlier, I did it not (appear before council) because of the family connection but because of her community work," Walker testified.

On the stand, Walker admitted she never attended any of the neighborhood meetings.

The city auditor Ingram Quick also testified Shanklin signed 70 percent of the checks from the neighborhood groups and advised her that it may pose a conflict of interest.

Earlier in the day, heated exchanges between Tachau and Shanklin's attorney Aubrey Williams - and at times County Attorney Mike O'Connell who advises the council court - led Shanklin to claim her ethics trial has been tainted.

"I want to know exactly how I can get a fair trial if these two can't get along, and you're his adviser," Shanklin said.

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