LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Councilman Vitalis Lanshima on Wednesday addressed his colleagues after he returned from his native Nigeria, where he says he is going to run for public office, after missing 20 meetings here in Louisville over the summer.
The councilmembers decided to table any decision on whether Lanshima’s eligibility should be investigated until he can provide his Nigerian voter identification and other registration regarding his run for office in that country.
The meeting opened with a clarification of the 20 absences, setting the shaky tone for the evening.
“Those 20 absences were all excused absences,” Councilman Brett Ackerson said. “The various chairs and members of this body gave an excused absence.”
From there, the argument began to deflate. The County Attorney’s Office was unable to provide a state law or precedent that deems Lanshima unable to represent District 21 on the basis that he is a registered voter, campaigning for public office in Nigeria.
“It’s not an answer we can provide at this time,” Assistant County Attorney Sarah Martin said. “A court would decide whether or not he would be eligible for this.”
With Lanshima finally taking the stand, answering all questions and agreeing to provide any documentation the council needed, most of the council was left questioning if this was even necessary.
“This strikes me as an odd conversation for us to continue,” Councilman Kevin Kramer said. “It’s my wish that the sponsor would withdraw this and that we could just move on.”
Eventually, the council tabled the discussion until the Nigerian documents can be provided.
“It has everything to do with the large periods of time that he was absent from council meetings and City Hall, in general, it just concerned me and no one else was asking the questions,” said Councilwoman Cindi Fowler, who introduced the motion for an investigation.
The council asked Lanshima to get the documents to the county attorney within 72 hours, although it’s not a strict time limit.