BoomBozz Taphouse
$20 Worth of Food for Only $10!
November 25, 2009

Jerry's kids

Facts, rumors and political innuendo

St. Xavier High School scolded Metro Councilman Jim King, D-10, last week after his mayoral campaign was caught distributing an e-mail using the school’s alumni association logo to promote a fundraiser. King graduated from the historic Catholic school in 1969, and the promotion played up his biography as a “Son of St. X,” going out to an unknown number of former students.

After receiving several complaints from alumni, St. X officials issued a blistering statement voicing their displeasure over the e-mail, which many believe implied St. X was endorsing King.

“We’ve been around 145 years and have had our share of alumni run for political office. This is very unfortunate and it was not authorized or approved,” says Michael Littell, vice president for advancement at St. X.

Councilman King quickly apologized to St. X President Perry E. Sangalli and cancelled the Dec. 2 fundraiser.

“That we would sell an address list or e-mail list without permission … we would never do that,” Littell says. “We highly value and protect that information. We’re investigating how that occurred.”

St. X officials have also made it clear they will not be endorsing King, or any other candidate for that matter.

When asked how the campaign obtained the alumni e-mail addresses, Michael Tierney, a King campaign spokesman, said the information was obtained from St. X’s website, which allows graduates who register to access the contact information for old classmates. But the school’s website also includes a “user agreement” that specifically says the information is not to be used for solicitation.

According to Tierney, the campaign intended only to send the event invitation to friends, supporters and fellow classmates. During distribution, however, he says the invitation was inadvertently sent to a larger group.

“Being an alumni of St. X and a contributor and one who credits St. X for being a turning point in his life, Jim has nothing but the utmost respect for them,” says Tierney. “As a result, to clear up any confusion, he has sent out a note to the alumni stating such and canceling the event.”

But the apologetic explanation that King only intended to invite friends to the fundraiser does not jibe with the event’s promotion on his mayoral Twitter page, which clearly states the candidate intended to invite all alumni to the fundraiser.

•••

The Metro Council approved the $45 million settlement with firefighters last Thursday, compensating them for miscalculated overtime pay. Now the question remains: Exactly how will the city pay them?

Insiders speculate that after Thanksgiving, Councilman Jim King, budget committee chairman, and Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16, will meet with Mayor Jerry Abramson to review how the installments will be paid.

The first of three installments will be paid next month and will come straight out of the city’s budget. The council is split over whether to use bonds or dip into Metro’s $65 million reserves to pay the remaining installments. The latter idea doesn’t sit well with Abramson, who believes the rainy-day fund must be saved for emergencies, and to maintain the city’s stellar credit rating. Abramson favors a blend of using reserves and borrowing to pay for this extraordinary settlement.

Earlier this month, state Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, sent a letter to Abramson outlining concerns that the settlement will be paid using countywide tax dollars even though the debt stems from a service county residents never received. The battle with firefighters reaches back before city and county governments merged in 2003.

The administration views Rep. Clark’s pre-merger thinking as going in reverse.

“For the last seven years we’ve worked very hard not to get involved in a marital battle where the husband says it’s my couch and the wife says it’s my easy chair,” says Chad Carlton, an Abramson spokesman. “We’re one community, and we’ve been one for seven years.”