LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- One of the city's longest serving elected officials is being told by his fellow council members and fellow Democrats to resign. Dan Johnson has been under fire for months with city employees accusing him of sexual harassment and insincere apologies.
Thursday the majority caucus met to discuss his future within the caucus and voted to expel him. During the two-hour, closed door meeting the caucus heard testimony and reviewed the evidence against Johnson.
"This is an embarrassment to the Metro Council as a whole that were undergoing these things. It’s a black eye on the entire community," Metro Councilman David Yates said.
Accused of sexual harassment within Metro Hall, councilman Dan Johnson says he's not going to resign. In a statement, he said, “I did not ever sexually harass Councilwoman Green or the legislative aid. This has been another desperate and malicious act by a few Democratic caucus members wishing to install their hand-picked crony as a Council Member. I will continue to express my innocence and I am eager to clear my name of these allegations while doing my very best every day to serve the 21st District. “
But caucus leaders said his excuses and apologies are not enough.
"The insincerity of Councilman Johnson's apologies is disturbing and extremely disturbing to the caucus," Councilman Bill Hollander said.
At the meeting Thursday, thirteen of the sixteen Democrats voted to expel Johnson from the caucus. They are also urging him to resign from his seat on Metro Council to avoid the trial-like process of removing him. He has been asked to resign by August 1, or the council claims it will move forward with removal actions.
"It’s a process in which charges are levied, Councilman Johnson has the opportunity to hire council, the charging committee can hire council, there eventually could be a trial. It’s a process that we very much hope we can avoid," Hollander said.
But Johnson said he's not going anywhere
“I was elected by the 21st district to serve them for four years and I will do that until my time is up," Johnson said on Wednesday.
He said what happened with Councilwoman Jessica Green was an accident, and blames his belt malfunction for what he says might have happened when a Metro Hall staff member accused him of exposing himself in the parking lot.
“I've had a thin waist and a full waist and it depends on where I was at as to what might've happened but I sure don't remember it," Johnson said.
As Johnson continues to deny the allegations, council members say they're ready to move past them all together.
Yates said, “We’re working to try to address it as quickly but also efficiently as we can. To the members who live in that district, pick up the phone, give us a call, we'll do our best to try and alleviate your concerns and address your needs.”
Dan Johnson’s complete statement:
“I did not ever sexually harass Councilwoman Green or the legislative aid. This has been another desperate and malicious act by a few Democratic caucus members wishing to install their hand-picked crony as a Council Member. I will continue to express my innocence and I am eager to clear my name of these allegations while doing my very best every day to serve the 21st District. I was elected by the 21st District to serve the people for four years and I intend to do just that until the end of my term in office. Hopefully soon Democratic Caucus leadership will see that these false allegations are just a distraction for the public and will return to serving the constituents’ issues that matter most.”
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