ONLY ON WDRB: Kentucky Center loses $130K - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Center loses $130K on project shut down by inspectors

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --The Kentucky Center spent more than $100,000 on a project that was supposed to take the performing arts venue to the next level.  WDRB News talked to the center's Senior Vice President about what went wrong and why the project has been shut down by state building inspectors.

The Kentucky Center is the vibrant hub that brings the best in music, dance and theater to a Louisville audience but an attempt to make the center even better has resulted in a costly mistake to the tune of $130,000.

"We decided we were going to invest in wiring that would take us into the future," said the center's Senior Vice President, Kim Baker.

In an effort to increase Internet bandwidth and make connectivity faster the Kentucky Center hired IVY Communications to upgrade its telecommunication system. Wiring was installed but in December the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction issued a "Stop Work Order" citing "code deficiencies".  The company installed a type of wiring that doesn't meet current fire safety standards.

Baker insists the venue is safe.

"We cut all of that off that new cable off so it's not hooked up and it's not going and everything we've got right now that is live a state inspector has approved," said Baker.

But that's not to say the Kentucky Center hasn't already been burned.  The money used to pay for the wiring project came from a loan from the KY center's endowment fund, or in other words, private donations.  The Kentucky Center is in the process of paying that loan back albeit money wasted.

But there are numerous questions about why IVY Communications was awarded the bid in the first place.

"IVY is somebody that has been used in the city before and that we did get other bids I was told IVY had the lowest of the bids that we received," said Baker.

The state auditor's office got involved when a complaint was received.  That complaint alleged IVY was hired because the owner is friends with the KY Center Director of Technology and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs.  The auditor's office found no malpractice and said the bid was awarded "consistent with existing policies of the center".

We contacted IVY Communications but the owner, didn't want to speak with us.  The business address listed is actually a Post Office Box on Taylorsville Road.

The Kentucky Center is in negotiations with the company.  It's unclear if IVY will reimburse the Kentucky Center or re-do the work.

"I can tell you that the state inspectors have said there isn't a reason that we can't do shows as we always have and be open for business," said Baker.

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