FBI asks Louisville Metro Council members about practices
No open investigation, agent says
Louisville Metro Council President Jim King
Written by Sebastian Kitchen
FBI agents have talked to members of the Louisville Metro Council, inquiring into council procedures and practices, but an agent said Friday there is no current “open investigation on a specific allegation or individual.”
In connection with a WFPL story Friday afternoon saying the FBI “is looking for potential misconduct in Louisville Metro government,” FBI agent Timothy Beam said in an email that there was no open investigation. Another FBI official told the Courier-Journal that there would be no further comment.
The FBI inquiries and media reports sparked confusion in City Hall, with council members contacted by The Courier-Journal saying they weren’t clear what the agents were looking for.
Metro Council President Jim King, in a statement, said his office communicated directly with the FBI and was advised that agents have interviewed unnamed council members. King said he has not been contacted personally.
“We have been advised that no council member, including myself, is a target or subject of an investigation,” King, D-10th District, said in the statement. “We were advised that the investigators are conducting a background investigation, educating themselves about aspects of Louisville Metro Government and its practices, policies and procedures.
“The goal, as reported to me, is for these investigators to improve their understanding of our council, both generally, and so they may appropriately respond to citizen inquiries when they receive them.”
King, who did not return a call seeking further comment, said in the statement that he supports the FBI’s effort.
Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said no one in the mayor’s office or in the finance department has been contacted by the FBI.
Tony Hyatt, a spokesman for the council’s Democratic Caucus, referred to the King statement when asked for comment.
Stephen Haag, who works for council Republicans, said he was aware a meeting had occurred between a council member and agents but was not aware of any ongoing investigation.
Democratic council members Marianne Butler, Dan Johnson and Mary Woolridge said they had not been approached by the FBI. Council member David Yates, D-25th District, said he also had not been contacted. The former assistant attorney general said he knows people at the FBI and “can understand their interest in our local government, but I try not to speculate to what extent that might be.”
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell, who represents the Metro Council, said Friday night that neither he nor his staff have been contacted about an investigation.
Defense lawyer Scott C. Cox, a former federal prosecutor, disputed suggestions that the FBI is merely studying Metro Council procedures or how neighborhood development grants are handled. The FBI investigates “only allegations of criminal conduct against specific individuals or companies,” he said.