LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The executive director of TARC has resigned following allegations of inappropriate conduct.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced Wednesday morning that he had accepted Ferdinand Risco’s resignation.
WAVE 3 News learned a total of six current and former employees met with attorney Thomas Clay recently, accusing Risco of “numerous" instances of inappropriate conduct, including inappropriate touching, sending sexually suggestive texts and even sending pictures of a body part.
“An interim director will be named soon, and a search for a permanent director will begin," Fischer said in a statement. "A quality public transit system is critical to our city, and we are committed to a smooth transition.”
A letter from Clay to Deputy Mayor Ellen Hesen details claims of inappropriate touching, sexual texts and pictures Risco allegedly sent of a body part.
“The people I talked to perceived that their careers were somewhat dependent on them acquiescing to these advances,” Clay said.
Clay added that at times, the complaints were brought forward to people in power, but they did nothing.
“I think there are more people who were subjected to this conduct that have not come forward,” Clay said.
Clay said incidents happened in Louisville and outside of town at events like seminars and training.
“It was ongoing and persistent and it got to the point where they just couldn’t take it anymore,” Clay said.
Metro Council President David James said he met with Hesen on Tuesday, adding that he’s happy the mayor took immediate action by requesting Risco’s resignation.
"Obviously, I think that something failed at TARC," James said.
Councilman Anthony Piagentini called the allegations “very, very credible.”
“When government operates in the shadows is when people are taken advantage of and taxpayers are taken advantage of,” Piagentini said, pushing for transparency.
He said these issues at TARC further highlight an increasing pattern of city mismanagement leading to liability, including other problems surrounding the LMPD Explorer scandal and a recent overtime case.
Both council members said they want answers moving forward, and likely will investigate the allegations made at TARC with the power they have through a Metro Council committee.
Clay said Hesen and the city have yet to respond to his letter.
“The silence was deafening,” Clay said.
Clay said another law firm has been investigating these claims for around a week after the TARC board decided that was necessary.
He said the women’s main objective was to remove Risco from his position. Clay said he isn’t contractually representing any of the women at this time, rather acting as a channel of communication to Metro government.
He said he is not sure if a lawsuit will be filed on their behalf.