Commission Takes Up Convention Center Controversy

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

The controversy surrounding the former board of the Sloan Convention Center may be closer to resolution, but not without more heated exchanges between city commissioners.

An independent investigation into the finances of the former board concluded that former Board member Steve Catron had overbilled the city for almost $300,000 in legal fees, and was responsible for another $248,000 in money that could not be accounted for.

Tuesday night, Mayor Sandy Jones proposed a resolution that would direct city staff to formulate new procedures to exert tighter control over boards and commissions that receive city funding. Jones and all of the commissioners publicly praised Commissioner Jim Bullington, saying he had been the driving and "dogged" force behind the investigation for more than a year.

Bullington, however, said he did not support the Mayor's resolution, calling it "redundant," and saying he feared it implied that the Commission was partially responsible for a lack of oversight that may have lead to the overbilling.

Bullington and Commissioner Joe Denning voted against the resolution, which passed 3-2.

The commission also met with attorney Greg Hovious, who has served as lead investigator. Hovious told the commission his recommendation would be to seek out a mediator to try and resolve the case with Catron without having to go to court, saving time, hassle, and legal expenses.

Hovious is recommending the city seek to recover the nearly $600,000 he believes it is owed, but Bullington says he's not sure that amount covers all of the alleged illegal expenditures.

The commission voted unanimously to appoint Bullington and the Louisville law firm to represent the commission in settlement negotiations.


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