Leaders of the Louisville Metro Council are voicing concern about purchases made from a discretionary fund by Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Abramson during his tenure as mayor. Council members have suggested a number of possible actions regarding the mayoral fund, from tighter restrictions on the current administration, calling Abramson to testify before the Government Accountability and Ethics committee and contacting state Auditor Crit Luallen to examine the account.
Each year council members approved a $41,000 account that the mayor could access, but city records show many expenditures made by the Abramson administration lacked any invoices or receipts.
Several procurements went to innocuous charitable organizations, however, other purchases include: $3,400 at an upscale steakhouse in Washington, D.C. for “Louisville business leaders”; $7,500 to Insight Media for “census outreach”; and another $2,378 to the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos., developer of Fourth Street Live, for a football game celebration.
The funds were spent without any internal review or approval from lawmakers, and no receipts were turned in for several purchases, though that is not required. Council President Jim King, D-10, says the city auditor needs to examine the fund and report back to the council.
“The council is responsible for appropriating taxpayer dollars and if we give a fund to the executive branch to spend we do expect it to be spent wisely and to be documented,” he says. “I certainly think the council would have appreciated a report from internal audit to the extent documentation was not there.”