Castleman statue’s fate in hands of Louisville judge

Louisville also argued it does not need outside authority to permanently remove the statue.
Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Kentucky Supreme Court win may not be enough to put the John Castleman statue back up in Cherokee Triangle.

The Friends of Louisville Public Art want a judge to order the city to reinstall the statue. The city argued a decision like that would be a waste of time and tax dollars.

The Assistant County Attorney told the court Louisville filed Tuesday with the Landmarks Commission to have the John Castleman statue kept out of Cherokee Triangle for good.

In a legal twist, the city said there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.

“We’ve had time to take a look with fresh eyes and fresh people to take a look at the law,” Assistant County Attorney Anne Scholtz said.

The city said it found state law gives it the ultimate authority to decide what to do with statues, like other public property.

It said the law says it doesn’t need the approval of the city landmarks commission to keep John Castleman off his pedestal.

Scholtz said the city has already filed documents to start the final removal process.

“This process will be completed within the next six weeks,” Scholtz said.

“They’ve had plenty of chance to have new eyes and new ideas and come up with this charade called sovereign immunity,” Friends of Louisville Public Art Attorney Steve Porter said.

He said the city’s argument is baloney, claiming the city followed its process when it decided to remove the Castleman statue and it shouldn’t get to say that process doesn’t matter now.

“They rejected sovereign immunity and said this is a legitimate application when they made it,” Porter said.

The judge did not rule Wednesday but said she would issue a decision quickly.

The city said it would take six months to clean up the statue, repair it, and reinstall it. It filed its permanent removal cases with the Landmarks and Planning Commissions Tuesday.

Porter said Friends of Louisville Public Art will fight on.

“We’ll probably do something to say these filings are in violation of the Kentucky Supreme Court and therefore shouldn’t even be accepted,” Porter said.

The city’s applications to permanently remove Castleman are set for July 30 and August 3.