Secret committees influence big Louisville development deals

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After organizers abruptly canceled the FoodPort project in 2016, Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration sought new uses for 24 acres of city-owned land in the Russell neighborhood.

In September, Fischer announced that the Louisville Urban League would transform the vacant site, known as Heritage West, into a $30 million track-and-field complex at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The mayor since has said he envisions city-backed bonds will help cover the cost.

But the Urban League, a nonprofit whose CEO is a former top aide to Fischer, was not the only organization to offer a new vision for the property. Three other developers expressed interest and submitted proposals.

To decide which plan was best, Fischer relied on the advice of a “review committee” of city staff and citizens, he said at a September 19 news conference in Metro Hall.

Months after the Urban League was chosen, however, the Fischer administration refuses to disclose who served on the committee. Revealing its members could open them to undue influence from others vying for the award, Metro government officials say. Read more…