Calling Republican Hal Heiner a “hypocrite” for his recent ad, Metro Council President Tom Owen, D-8, says that former mayoral candidate Tyler Allen was promised significant input in a potential Heiner administration in exchange for his endorsement of the GOP nominee.
In a press release sent out by Democrat Greg Fischer’s campaign, Owen said he met with Allen in September just before the co-founder of 8664 announced he was endorsing Heiner.
“Tyler clearly stated to me that he was promised by the Heiner campaign to have input into transportation issues, if he endorsed Heiner and if Heiner won,” Owen said in the news release. “Mr. Heiner, whom I respect, is being a hypocrite. I call on Hal to come clean with the public and with the voters.”
On Sept 8, LEO Weekly reported that Owen had reached out to Allen and arranged a meeting because he heard that the popular transportation advocate was leaning towards the East End Republican. When asked about the details of the conversation last month, the council president never mentioned Allen being promised a role or input in the Mayor’s Office if Heiner were elected.
From Jerry’s kids:
The concern about Fischer’s bridges position was one of the reasons Owen recently reached out to former mayoral candidate Tyler Allen, a popular Democrat and co-founder of 8664, who is rumored to be leaning toward endorsing Heiner. The two met to discuss whom Allen will support; neither would confirm details of that conversation.
The Heiner campaign says no conversation ever took place between their candidate and Allen, and that the Fischer campaign is trying to distract voters from what they call the Democratic candidate’s “back-room deal” to get the endorsement of former mayoral candidate Jackie Green, an independent who withdrew from the race last week after being promised “significant input” in selecting a cabinet-level office.
In a letter sent to Attorney General Jack Conway, Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Steve Robertson has called for an investigation into the Fischer-Green agreement, citing LEO Weekly’s story that broke the story of Green saying Fischer’s campaign was the first to raise the proposition of him being a part of the Democratic candidate’s administration, should Fischer be elected.
“Hal never promised Tyler anything,” says Joe Burgan, Heiner’s campaign manager. “This is an out and out lie. When you can’t answer a question like we’ve asked Greg Fischer about him doing backdoor deals, you respond by calling your opponent a liar and accusing them of the same thing. Greg got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and has absolutely zero evidence.”
When asked if they would release any correspondence with Allen, the Heiner campaign tells LEO it will provide all e-mail messages between the 8664 co-founder and Heiner campaign staff later today.
Allen was unavailable for comment.
The Heiner campaign has provided two e-mails between their staff and Allen leading up to his announcement. The first dated Sept. 8 outlines a press release with the Democrat endorsing Heiner. The following message is sent by Heiner’s campaign manager asking Allen what if he agrees with a statement describing why he supports the city lawmaker’s candidacy.
In a telephone interview, Burgan tells LEO that these are the only e-mail exchanges that took place and that Allen called to confirm the quote. The Heiner campaign has never had any conversation with Allen about trading his endorsement for any input or role in Metro government, says Burgan.
“It’s not true. I was not promised anything for my endorsement. I knew who I wanted to support in this mayor’s race and I wanted to do it publicly,” says Allen. “That why I showed my support because I appreciate Hal’s leadership, experience and openness to challenging the status quo.”
When asked why he didn’t make reference to Allen making any sort of deal with Heiner in our previous interview, Owen told LEO that it was because the Fischer-Green issue hadn’t emerged as an issue in the campaign at the time. The council president stands by his statement and says he doesn’t see any distinction between Allen being assured input in a Heiner administration and Green being assured a role in shaping policy in a Fischer administration.
“Should either campaign be investigated? Absolutely not. The very nature of running a mayor’s race is to take as many diverse elements and pieces to put them together in a winning puzzle,” he says. “Now if an office or job had been offered, I didn’t see that in any of the e-mails I’ve seen so far on the Jackie Green thing, then that’s another issue.”
However, when confronted with the other set of e-mails reported in LEO earlier this week, Owen admitted he had not read the e-mails between Green and his staff, which shows the independent cycling advocate telling his team that the Fischer campaign playing a role in Metro government while negotiating his departure from the race.
“The (Fischer campaign) also raised the issue of our team playing a role inside gov. — should Greg get lucky. ,” Green wrote his staff in an Oct. 13 e-mail message.
After LEO’s story broke, WHAS-11 reported that Green confirmed he sent the e-mail to his staff, but said his own account was questionable because he has a “poor memory” and doesn’t remember his own wife or daughter’s birthday. Both Green and the Fischer campaign have denied any job was offered in exchange for an endorsement.
“I have not read or heard the language in that form and obviously haven’t read every single e-mail,” says Owen. “I have not read LEO this week either. It’s my understanding a job has not been offered to Jackie Green.”