City probe into Explorer Program scandal nearly triples in cost
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A $50,000 bill taxpayers are footing has ballooned to nearly triple the cost.
It's for an investigation sanctioned by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in March 2017. Fischer hired former United States Attorney Kerry Harvey to look into who, among the city's top players, knew what about allegations that two police officers had sexually abused children in the Louisville Metro Police Department's Youth Explorer Program.
The original contract was for $50,000. In December 2017 that was amended by the Mayor's office to $70,000.
Since then, we've been keeping tabs on the report and how much it's actually costing the city's residents.
At first, through email correspondence, the Mayor's spokesperson was only able to discuss the $70,000 contract cost. She stated that's all she knew about, and responded that the investigation's figure was not set yet.
So WAVE 3 News filed an open records request to see the bills ourselves.
At first they seemed to go along with the city's amended contract for $70,000. The bills showed a total amount due of $71,743.23.
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But then, we asked the city one simple question - were these invoiced fees in addition to the contract?
The answer was yes, which confirmed the investigation is now nearly triple the original cost, bringing the tentative total to a little more than $140,000.
The report has been completed and is being redacted. There's no telling what, if any of it, will be made public.
The city said it's because they do not want Harvey's investigation to meddle with that being done by other agencies including the FBI.
That's not all the invoices show. They include descriptions of charges and don't list Mayor Fischer as being interviewed until March 9th, 2018 - three weeks before the final report was complete.
The invoices range between March 2017 and March 2018.
In the middle of Harvey's investigation - between October 2017 and January 2018 - Mayor Fischer, his Deputy Mayor Ellen Hesen and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad gave conflicting recollections and timelines for discussing the case among themselves during depositions given in the Whistle-blower lawsuit filed by demoted LMPD Major Jimmy Harper.
The invoices don't show that Mayor Fischer was interviewed by Harvey until March 9, 2018. That's three weeks before the report would be completed. The Deputy Mayor is also listed as being interviewed that same day. It does not indicate if Fischer and Hesen were interviewed together.
The invoices show Hesen was interviewed again on March 26, 2017.
The documents indicate five conferences between Harvey and Hesen. The nature of those conferences were not detailed. It is also unclear from the invoices if, and when, Harvey interviewed LMPD Chief Steve Conrad.
Conversations between Harvey and Metro Council President David James were also listed. James has called for the investigation's report to be released to the public, stating it has a right to know. The Council has hired an outside attorney to navigate the release of the report's findings.
A city spokesperson told WAVE 3 News Mayor Fischer is eager to see the report, but that it pertains to a very serious matter which he does not want to jeopardize.
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