LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – Louisville councilwoman Barbara Shanklin is facing an ethics investigation after accusations that she misused federal and city funds. The complaint filed with the Louisville Metro Ethics Commission cites several media reports claiming the councilwoman has been misusing her position to benefit herself and her family.
Well-known government watchdog, Richard Beliles has been hearing unsettling stories about Shanklin for months.
He says, “I think that this doesn’t sound right and I think that it should be investigated and nobody, nobody was filing it so I did. And I hope some good comes out of it.”
Some of Shanklin’s own constituents believe she’s accepting grant money meant to improve the community. The Weed and Seed Program, for example, is meant to fund more police patrols and help residents improve their community. But, in documents we’ve obtained, Shanklin played an integral role in how the money was spent, which an audit revealed wasn’t always spent wisely.
Beliles says he’s never seen proof that Shanklin is abusing her role as councilwoman, but he says it’s worth an investigation to be sure.
“Finally, I felt like I should file something just for the public interest so we could find out the facts,” he explained.
The WHAS11 News I-Team learned the issues became such a big concern that U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Kentucky recommended the Justice Department stop funding the program, which it did in its fifth year.
Shanklin released a statement in response to the ethics complaint saying:
"All along I have said I have nothing to hide and I look forward to cooperating with the Ethics Committee as they conduct their investigation into these matters. In the meantime, I have a job to do in the service of my constituents in District 2, and I will continue to serve them to the best of my ability."