Metro Ethics Commission dismisses complaints against Jim King - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Ethics Commission dismisses complaints against Jim King

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Metro Council president Jim King is also president of King Southern Bank. Metro Council president Jim King is also president of King Southern Bank.
Janice Rucker filed the three ethics complaints against council president Jim King. Janice Rucker filed the three ethics complaints against council president Jim King.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission reviewed and dismissed three complaints against council president Jim King on Thursday.

Now, some Louisville residents claim it's another example of favoritism within the Metro Council.
 
"I expected as much that they would throw the cases out," said Janice Rucker, who filed the  complaints.

Rucker says she believes some members of the Metro Council are getting an unfair advantage. 

"I just wanted to know what makes it wrong for some Metro Council people not to be able to benefit from their position but it's not wrong for others. There's two different systems going on here."

Rucker filed three complaints against council president Jim King, claiming a conflict of interest because of his job as a Louisville banker. 

"I have proof that he loaned money to developers. I have proof that the developers asked for zoning changes. And I have proof that Jim King voted on the zoning changes for his developers. He's making money because when you loan money you make interest," she said.  

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission reviewed those complaints, but dismissed all three.

According to the commission's legal counsel, Deborah Kent, two of the three were out of date. She says the ethics ordinance requires complaints be filed within a year of the event.

However,  Kent tells WDRB one complaint was one to two years old, the other two to three years old. They were beyond the statute of limitations.

Other residents who were at Thursday night's meeting in support of Walker say it's not fair, citing examples with other Metro councilmembers.

"They didn't do timely with Barbara Shanklin and that was years ago but they let that go through. They didn't do timely with Judy Greene which was years ago, and they even gave Ray Barker an attorney that helped him with his papers and with his case. They're not doing the same thing with Miss Rucker, and that's why I contend this was wrong," said Louisville resident Donnie Morris.

As for the third complaint, Kent says there was an issue with the property in question's address. 

"The commission could not determine that the property that was voted on for a zoning change was the same property that there might have been some sort of interest in," Kent said.

During the February 27 council meeting, King recused himself from voting on several zoning issues after the complaints were brought to the attention of the council and media. 

Rucker says the whole thing reminds her of past discrimination, and that she is just looking for answers and fair treatment for all. 

"The law does not say your bank account and your zip code makes you above the law. It does not say that. If it's wrong for somebody's family to benefit then it should be wrong for everybody's family to benefit," Rucker said.

"Unless something is done with this after we refile this then I'm going to see if the auditor Crit Luellen, the auditor, can do something about this. The attorney general or maybe even the Commonwealth attorney's office because this is getting ridiculous where they have gotten away with it. He's gotten away with it where others haven't," Morris said.

Kent says Rucker has plenty of time to refile her third complaint since the incident cited allegedly took place last August. 

She says Rucker must straighten out the property address and refile before commission can consider again.

King released the following statement after Thursday's meeting:

"I want to thank the Metro Ethics Commission for their thoughtful consideration regarding the complaints filed by Ms. Rucker.  The public has a right to expect integrity and ethical behavior from its public servants and I will continue to demonstrate those qualities as President of the Metro Council.

"The complaints filed do not accurately portrayed (sic) my role or that of my business interests with respect to zoning matters coming before the Council.  After a question raised by an Ethics Commission member in December, 2013, about the duty of a council member to identify potential conflicts of interest led me to request an advisory opinion as to a Council Member's affirmative duty to identify the names and financial interests of all parties in interest to a zoning case.  The Commission has yet to issue such an opinion and until I receive their guidance, I will continue to abstain from voting in zoning matters to avoid a perception or the appearance of a conflict."

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