LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A controversial apartment project is slated to get millions of dollars in state financing, but there are serious questions about whether the developer qualifies for all that help. The project manager says the complaints are just another issue opponents are using to try and keep low income housing out of their neighborhood.
Before Overlook Development can move forward with plans to build Frontgate Apartments, a controversial affordable housing project in heart of Louisville's Highview area, it needs to secure millions of dollars in low interest government financing from the Kentucky Housing Corporation.
Documents reveal Overlook used its status as a female owned business to bolster its application and get the funding approved, but opponents of the project say the Kentucky Housing Corporation overlooked one big thing.
Overlook Development put its name on a financing application to the KHC, but a paper trial for the project leads to an entirely different developer.
At the address listed on that application, there is no sign of Overlook Development, only a company called LDG Development. Records show LDG is owned by a man named Chris Dischinger. Overlook is registered to his wife, Lisa.
Lisa Dischinger is the reason Overlook Development is certified as female owned business by the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission.
But when a reporter went inside the office listed to Overlook, Lisa Dischinger's father-in-law said she doesn't work there.
"Right now she doesn't work," Ron Dischinger said.
Frontgate Apartment project manager Michael Gross said Lisa Dischinger works from home and that Overlook Development is a totally separate entity from LDG Development.
"Lisa Dischinger is the end decision maker for all matters related to Overlook Development and the Frontgate Apartments project," Gross said. "There really is no story there."
That's news to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer who twice referred to LDG as the developer of Frontgate Apartments in an email to a constituent.
"The way the Mayor sees two entities out in public is irrelevant to the case," Gross said.
Even out in public Overlook and LDG seem to be one in the same.
Gross conducted his interview in a development he said was partially built by Overlook Development but LDG's name was on the sign.
Gross said he works for Overlook but his email address says LDG.
And when hundreds of neighbors gathered in protest of the Frontgate Apartment project in July 2012, it was Gross, dressed in a shirt with the LDG logo, that was front and center hearing the complaints.
The man who answered questions from reporters that day, was LDG owner, Chris Dischinger.
Gross said Overlook Development's ownership isn't nearly as important as the need for affordable housing in Louisville. The Mayor's office agreed.
"We don't care who builds Frontgate," said spokesman Chris Poynter, "As long as the project gets done."
Bingham, who has been fighting construction from the beginning, has now filed complaints with the Kentucky Housing Corporation and the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, hoping to scuttle development once and for all.
"The problem is within government, either people are following the rules, and following the guidelines, or they are making a joke out of everything," Bingham said.
The Kentucky Housing Corporation declined comment because of pending litigation. The chairwoman of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission said she is reviewing the complaint about Overlook Development's female owned business status.
It's unclear if any of this could impact Frontgate Apartments construction.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203