Metro Council Democrats call out Republicans for not cooperating in Piagentini charging committee

Councilman Anthony Piagentini releases statement after establishment of Charging Committee
Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 11:43 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Democrats on Metro Council are calling out their republican colleagues for not working with them on council member Anthony Piagentini’s possible removal.

They say when Democrats are in similar situations, Republicans have no problem working on charging committees.

“We invited the minority caucus to join us in what historically has been a bi-partisan effort,” said council member Cindi Fowler.

Fowler stood with fellow council members Paula McCraney, Betsy Ruhe, Pat Mulvihill, and Andrew Owen on Wednesday.

They’re the charging committee for council member Anthony Piagentini, and they’re all Democrats because Fowler says the Republicans won’t work with them.

Fowler said when a Democrat has been charged with misconduct, republicans had no issue with being on the charging committee.

“But now when charges are against a member of the minority caucus, the senior members refuse to step up as they have in previous cases,” Fowler said.

WAVE News looked at some of those previous cases.

Judy Green, Barbara Shanklin, and Dan Johnson were charged with misconduct, and they were all Democrats.

Here’s who made up the charging committees in those cases.

Judy Green in 2011 was Tina Ward-Pugh (D), Madonna Flood (D), Barbara Shanklin (D), Kevin Kramer (R), and Stuart Benson (R).

Three democrats, two republicans.

Barbara Shanklin in 2013 was Madonna Flood (D), Vicki Aubrey Welch (D) , Tina Ward-Pugh (D), James Peden (R), and Jerry Miller (R).

Again, three democrats and two republicans.

Then Dan Johnson in 2017 was Jessica Green (D), Brandon Coan (D), Rick Blackwell (D), Robin Engel (R), and Angela Leet (R).

Once again, three democrats and two republicans.

“I am disappointed,” Fowler said. “I’m dismayed that we find ourselves alone at the table with no cooperation from the minority caucus.”

Fowler brought up comments republican Kevin Kramer made back in February when the council voted to ask the ethics committee for an opinion on Piagentini’s actions.

Piagentini accepted a high-paying job with the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council after working with the council to direct $40 million to the group.

Kramer co-sponsored the resolution because he didn’t think Piagentini did anything wrong and wanted to put it all behind them.

“If however something is discovered and I’m wrong, then I will have to look into a camera somewhere and say, ‘I don’t think there was anything there, and clearly I was mistaken,’” Kramer said in February.

Last month, the ethics commission voted unanimously that Piagentini was guilty of ethics violations and recommended his removal from the metro council.

“To ignore those findings is to ignore the process,” Fowler said.

“We’ve heard from the ethics commission, but the beauty of this process is we get an opportunity as a council to look at the whole picture and hear from our colleague. To not want to be a part of this process is saddening,” said McCraney.

Piagentini has said from the beginning that he did nothing wrong, and the entire process has been a partisan hit job.

He released a statement on Wednesday that reinforced those feelings, and you can read that by clicking or tapping here.

We asked for a comment from the metro Republicans shortly after the press conference this afternoon, but never got a response back.