The fallout from the state auditor’s examination of Metro government and its financial reporting practices could spill over into the 2010 mayoral campaign.
Before the full report was released, Democratic mayoral candidates Tyler Allen and Metro Councilman Jim King, D-10, had already spoken out with strong transparency positions and Republican mayoral candidate and Councilman Hal Heiner, R-19, has also released a statement as chairman of the minority caucus.
However, as WFPL’s Gabe Bullard highlights, Democratic mayoral candidate and Councilman David Tandy, D-4, might want to avoid the recent findings, which criticizes Mayor Jerry Abramson’s administration over the controversial $950,000 loan agreement with The Cordish Cos. to refurbish a nightclub at Fourth Street Live.
From The Edit:
David Tandy may take more heat now for his visit he paid to Cordish headquarters last year. The loan given to Cordish is mentioned in the audit, and Tandy has been criticized for not doing enough to get details on how the money was spent in 4th Street Live. Tandy, however, was president of the council last year when transparency legislation passed.
Last year, Tandy, who was then-council president, sent a letter to Cordish asking for details on how it spent the city loan. However, when he traveled with members of the Abramson administration to the company’s headquarters, he faltered after signing a confidentiality agreement with the Baltimore-based developer that barred him from discussing the loan in detail.
“We got clarification,” he told LEO back in September 2009.
Tandy carried the administration’s water and was heavily criticized for it at the time, but six months later the state auditor’s report has returned to haunt his mayoral candidacy.
In our one-on-one interview with the councilman, we asked why he would sign an agreement that kept him from sharing the loan details with the public if transparency was his priority.
From Jerry’s kids:
LEO: If their expenditures checked out, why sign a confidentiality agreement with The Cordish Cos. barring you from discussing or divulging the loan details? Were you hesitant about that at first?
DT: Whenever you’re dealing in a public realm you want everything laid out, but even our open records law has provisions where certain proprietary business information is kept confidential because you don’t want to … discourage development, whether from a local or national company. You have to be mindful of that and protective of that… The main concern I had was making sure the money was spent per the loan agreement here in Louisville. It had the appearance that you’re taking money from the right pocket and you’re putting it in your left pocket with a hole in it that’s going somewhere else. You want to make sure that money we’re lending is used for the public purpose to develop the property that was here.
As the May 18 primary approaches, the mayoral campaign hasn’t gotten negative — yet. But considering Tandy is a leading contender among the crowded Democratic field, it’s only a matter of time before his opponents bring this subject to the forefront.