No plans to resign from Metro Council, embattled Johnson says - WDRB 41 Louisville News

No plans to resign from Metro Council, embattled Johnson says

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Embattled Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson said Thursday that he has no intention to resign his council seat or Democratic caucus leadership position in the wake of recent legal issues.

Johnson, who spoke briefly to reporters before the council's full meeting, said no Democrats have asked him to step aside from those posts.

And he dismissed concerns about recent lawsuits, including one filed earlier this month by businessman Gus Goldsmith alleging that Johnson didn't have sufficient funds to cover an $8,000 check he wrote.

“I think those legal issues will be solved very shortly, sir. Don't worry about it,” he said.

Johnson also said he paid back a debt – using his own money – on a city-issued cell phone. WFPL reported this week that Johnson wrote two bad checks to the city in the past month before making the city whole on Wednesday.

Johnson formally requested an audit of his district's neighborhood development, capital infrastructure and cost center accounts on Wednesday. He told reporters that he believes the audit will prove that he “did nothing wrong” with those monies.

In response to a reporter's question, Johnson denied that he has any gambling debts, but he said: “I'm personally poor, and I'll take care of that when I get to it.”

Johnson is vice chairman of the council's Democratic caucus and has represented District 21 in Louisville's South End since the merger of the old City of Louisville and Jefferson County governments in 2003. He previously served on the old city Board of Aldermen.

Johnson also told reporters that he paid his current aide Bryan Mathews last summer for campaign work. Insider Louisville raised questions in a story Thursday about the timing of those payments, totaling nearly $5,000, which occurred well before this year's primary.

“He worked in my campaign setting up fundraisers and stuff,” including setting out yard signs, Johnson said. He added: "We were getting ready for the election this year.”

Johnson said he was not the topic of a closed-door, executive session meeting of the council's Democrats. Caucus chair Vicki Welch declined to say what was discussed during the meeting, which lasted more than an hour and was abruptly ended when members began leaving a conference room.

Typically, members of the public and media are notified that an executive session has ended, then the regular meeting is reconvened before adjourning.

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