Former King consultant writes “tell-all” book

Former Metro Councilwoman Denise Bentley has launched a website promoting a book about Democratic mayoral candidate and Metro Councilman Jim King, D-10, and his daughter, Jefferson District Judge Katie King, which covers the two years she worked as a campaign consultant for both.

The self-published, 100-page book, entitled “The Real Jim King: Inside the Kingdom,” makes numerous salacious accusations about the former council president’s personal and political life, including allegations regarding his business, King Southern Bank, how he treats employees, and funding his daughter’s 2008 judicial campaign.

In a telephone interview with LEO Weekly, Bentley said she started writing the book after resigning from the councilman’s mayoral campaign — just last month — saying she wants people to know the truth about the councilman’s “take no prisoners attitude.”

“The real Jim King is not the person we want running the city of Louisville,” says Bentley. “I’m sure Jim will put together a statement and do everything he can to belittle me, degrade me and demoralize me. But that’s OK, because people need to know that we deserve better.”

In April, Bentley, who represented the council’s 1st District until 2005, quit the King campaign citing professional, philosophical and ethical differences. She had been a well-paid campaign consultant for King, but said the president and CEO of King Southern Bank wasn’t as “committed to the African-American community” as she had expected.

With the May 18 primary less than a week away, the King campaign questions the timing of the book’s release, adding that Bentley’s accusations are nothing more than rumors. According to online records, Bentley created the site on April 11, four days before resigning from the campaign.

“Anyone who launches a website a week before the election should be looked at suspiciously,” says Jonathan Hurst, King’s campaign manager. “Obviously Denise left unhappy. Anytime an employee leaves under those circumstance and makes these sorts of claims I don’t think people take it too seriously.”

A lifelong west Louisville resident, Bentley rose to prominence in local politics before city and county governments merged in 2003, becoming the first black woman to be elected as president of the Louisville Board of Alderman. Since leaving the council Bentley has gained the reputation as a consultant who used and has been accused of negative ads on several area campaigns.

For months, Bentley says she fought with King campaign staff to get a media budget for outreach in minority communities. After King missed a mayoral forum organized by local civil rights groups, she claims she couldn’t carry the campaign’s water any longer.

It didn’t help Bentley’s cause within the King campaign, however, that a number of black elected officials, ministers and business leaders said her presence was hurting him among voters, particularly in the West End.

At least one outspoken critic and former colleague of Bentley, state Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, sent a letter to Councilman King, explicitly warning him about her recent political freelancing.

In March, Bentley spearheaded the wet-dry vote in a 19-block section of the Parkland neighborhood where alcohol sales had long been prohibited. She canvassed the area for signatures, saying she was concerned about the lagging retail in west Louisville, arguing that allowing the sale of liquor would help reverse that trend. Voters overturned the ban on April 6.

According to The Courier-Journal, a handful of residents said Bentley told them that signing the petition to put the question on the ballot would bring a Wal-Mart to the area. Bentley told the C-J residents might have misunderstood what she said.

“People clearly connected Ms. Bentley’s actions and the perceived underhanded nature of her actions with regards to the wet-dry vote,” Meeks told LEO. “And they clearly made the connection that she was at that time working for King. And I felt it was important for King to know this.”

At the time, Bentley’s unexpected resignation was merely a small distraction for the campaign. But now, a website that makes a number of inflammatory accusations against King — already troubled by past controversies — could have a devastating impact on his mayoral candidacy in the election’s home stretch.

“These claims have zero truth to them and I’m not sure what motive Denise has other than to hurt someone and many other innocent people,” says Hurst. “The sexual innuendos have no shred of evidence. There are no facts to back these up. These come from a person who left the campaign very angry and no one on this campaign believes these rumors.”


  1. GoKats
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Sexual innuendos? Why would you say that in a statement? To get more people to read the book? I’m probably going to based on that phrase alone.

  2. tas1978
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what an ethical dilemma. Whom to believe? King or Bentley? Is either reliable? By the way, Bentley is not a lifelong resident of West Louisville. It is well known she left town for many years when she was young and that her children were born in other states. She also more recently lived in Frankfort and Lexington while working for Governor Fletcher. Not that it matters. She is no more believable in what she says about King than he is in denying it. Is it “kettle meet pot” or “pot meet kettle”? Who’ll write the next tell all book, Les Estafane?

  3. Ed Springston
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Facts are facts. Those who doubt Bentley only need to look at the Jim King fiasco with the KREF and call the AG and verify there is an ongoing criminal investigation with the Kentucky State Police on Jim King..

    Whether Bentley is believable or not one thing is clear. King is unfit for Mayor of Louisville and in many opinions needs to go period.

  4. Steve Magruder
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    At least Jim King is doing a service for Louisville by…

    1) Opposing tolls on existing bridges, like most of the other mayoral candidates;

    2) Running television ads to inform the public about Greg Fischer’s very real negatives;

    3) Continuing to serve on the Metro Council in a very effective manner.

    Even those who are not perfect do worthwhile things.

  5. Ed Springston
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Opposing tolls is popular and he cannot be for them he couldn’t take anymore negatives right now.

    Negative ads against Fisher is self serving as he hopes it discounts Fisher and he can effectively buy another election, which is still under criminal invetsigation. Pot meet kettle.

    Effective job as Metro Councilman is debatable.

    And believe me neither King nor Fisher is worthy in my opinion to be Mayor.

  6. Concerned
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ve read Bentley’s website and as a person who knows (very well) people who work at King Southern she is absolutely right on target about King, the way he conducts himself, how he treats people and his win at all costs attitude. People will try to discredit Bentley, and not knowing her perhaps there is reason. However, she’s done all of us a service by bringing to light these truths about King.

  7. Ed Springston
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I am glad Denise jumped on the bandwagon. I have put most of this out to the public already over the last two years while she was trying to help stifle it. King has already paid $30,000 for campaign violations in fines with criminal charges coming soon.

    There may be some new revelations from denise as she was part of the insiders but she sure could have done this sooner rather than help King try to beat his criminal behavior.

    Glad to see she jumped aboard I just wonder what her motives are.

  8. Steve Magruder
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Well, Ed, obviously you think criminal charges are coming soon. But then, you aren’t the responsible authority who will make that decision. Don’t count your chickens, as it could blow up in your face.

    I’m not defending King though. I know there’s a potential for criminality going on. But to declare what will happen when you don’t know for sure? That’s playing with political fire.

  9. Ed Springston
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Permalink


    It has never been about “playing” with politics it has always been and will continue to be about cleaning up the politics. Period. Whether that is as an elected official or private citizen as I am now I will continue to do it.

    They said the same when I filed the charges and King received the highest fine in known Kentucky history. Against all odds I defeated arguably two of the best campaign election attorneys, Sheryl Snyder and Amy Cubbage, in Kentucky in doing so.

    If I lose so be it as long as the evidence is looked at honestly and fairly. I have never asked for anything else.

    It is interesting that so many who claim to be against King have spent a considerable amount of time lately carrying his water and trying to discount the truth.

    Either way Denise Bentley adds a curveball to the whole situation whether it was willing or not.

  10. Steve Magruder
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I am not carrying King’s water.

    I just believe in looking at facts and logic, no matter where they may take me. I don’t fall for vendetta thinking.

    At any rate, you know full well I criticize King fairly regularly.

  11. Ed Springston
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I never said you specifically. Either way King has already been found guilty of illegal conduct so the rest is a no brainer.

  12. Vendetta
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    “Even those who are not perfect do worthwhile things.”

    Jim King is as far as perfect as it’s possible to get. And anything he does that is “worthwhile” is purely a side effect of whatever benefit it provides to himself.

    Denise Bentley’s credibility aside, Jim King is unethical. Period. Those of us who know him know the lies in his ads, know the ruthlessness of his dealings in his personal life, and know he bought his (otherwise unqualified) daughter’s seat on the bench.

    If you choosing Jim King is the choice of the lesser of two evils, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  13. Ed Springston
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Vendetta while I agree with what you wrote why does everyone continue to keep closed mouthed about King’s failures? Seriously, why do people fear such a bully. I have interviewed a couple of people but cannot share their stories because they are scared of King.

    It is when you stand up to a bully that they no longer have control over you. rest assured King is that bully.

    For all you naysayers stand up, be counted, and live without fear.

    Need help?

    Write me at

    It is when people stand together against tis behavior that everyone wins in the end.

  14. Steve Magruder
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Permalink


    No matter what we might think of King, his ads are not lie-packed as you say.

    He’s actually doing a service for Louisville in his exposing of Fischer’s multiple negatives.

    If King is lying in the ads, what specifically are the lies?

  15. tas1978
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Steve, are you still a registered Independent?

  16. Jane
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I believe what she has written about his lack of respect for women because I have seen it first hand, While waiting for an appointment with Jim, I saw him hit on a young girl who worked for him. It was very sad and I was stunned. I asked him what Debbie would think and he told me he hoped she wouldn’t find out.

  17. Steve Magruder
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    tas1978, as soon as you reveal your identity, I’ll answer the question.

  18. Scottsdale
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    To TAS1978 -
    Steve is REGISTERED as an OTHER with the State Board of Elections as of 2010.

    (Note: The State Board of Elections has only the following designations:
    D, R, O, I, L C, G, F, and S.
    See page 2 on this webpage: )

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  1. […] of dirty campaign tricks have followed Bentley for years. Bentley released a “tell all” book about Councilman Jim King just a week before the 2010 primary election when King was running for […]