Ludlow Drops Legal Action Against Youth Football Organization
The City of Ludlow has dropped its legal pursuit of an open records request from Ludlow Youth Football, Inc. because the financial records in question either do not exist or are in not in the organization's possession, according to a letter written by LYF attorney Phil Taliaferro. The letter was read aloud during the city council meeting on Thursday evening.
Ludlow requested that LYF open its books in order to appease the city's accounting requirements needed to properly record the line item of an $8,000 donation toward LYF's annual fireworks festival. During a scheduling conflict of competing warm-weather festivals, the city determined that municipally funded private-organization events were not even permitted by law and that the city could not continue to make financial contributions.
At a city council meeting in August, a swell of community support for LYF and its annual fireworks event led the city to cancel its own planned festival, clearing the way for an LYF event in June. In that same meeting, there were specifics of line-item accounting discussed where complaints were raised by LYF that they would be denied between $1,100-$1,400 of $8,000 that the organization typically gets from the city.
This kind of language at that meeting led City Attorney Jeff Otis to believe that records had been kept, which caused him to raise questions after Thursday's meeting of how none can be produced now.
“We requested it because based on previous comments, I believed that they had records showing how that money was used,” he said. “They did not provide that documentation pursuant to a Kentucky Open Record Act request. In short, they didn't have the books. What they're saying formally is that the records don't exist and that it's not in their possession, so where are they?”
Councilman Tom Amann said during the meeting that Ludlow City Council never approved filing an injunction against Ludlow Youth Football which Otis immediately said was an inappropriate comment.
“It's not inappropriate, Jeff, I have the freedom of speech,” Amann responded, which provoked an applause from the packed chambers of LYF supporters at the meeting.
Otis later explained that he felt Amann was speaking for all of council when five of the seven members supported legal proceedings.
“Mr. Amann cannot speak for all of the council. I thought that comment was inappropriate because the way he worded it was that he was speaking for council and that was grossly inappropriate. He may not have liked it, but he and (Councilman) Josh Boone were the only ones that didn't approve,” Otis said.
Amann, an attorney, also read aloud a letter written by the LYF Board of Directors that denounced any rumors of him providing the organization with legal advice.
“I just want to say that I'm glad it's over because Ludlow Youth Football doesn't need to spend their money on legal fees, but instead buy equipment and things for the children that want them,” he said.
The injunction was filed after the city requested the financial information in two separate letters.
Ludlow Police Officer Sam Hodge is reportedly recovering well after being shot during a gunfire exchange at Riverside Market parking lot in December. Hodge was first listed in serious condition after the incident. The man who shot Hodge was killed by another officer on the scene.
The traffic light at Elm and Carneal Streets has been approved and will take 12-16 weeks to manufacture, deliver and install.
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor