Metro Council at odds over West End Walmart delay

Council questions delay on West End Walmart

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Council members were at odds at a special meeting on Thursday night trying to figure out why it's taking so long to get a Walmart at 18th and Broadway.  Documents may paint a clearer picture of why two years later, there's still no Walmart.

“I do know you've been in negotiations.  I think that is absolutely wrong,” Council President David Yates addressed Councilman Kelly Downard.

“That's the lie, that's the lie.  You don't know that and it is not the truth,” Councilman Downard responded.

But we're finding out in documents that those negotiations were happening.

“All I've read is the emails, so if that's correct?” Yates said.

Yates was referring to documents filed in the lawsuit that's stalled Walmart's progress at 18th and Broadway for months.

“Don't ever say that again unless you know the facts,” Councilmen Downard fired back.

His name is listed in this paperwork that was part of a lawsuit preservationists filed over the design of the new west end Walmart.  In the documents and in emails listed in the paperwork, Downard’s name is included as being a part of the negotiations. Yates said that's a problem and could jeopardize the future of the development.

“My hope is the judges in the Court of Appeals will look at it and they'll realize that that was not real negotiation.  That the county attorney is our legal representative and that no individual council member can negotiate,” Yates said.

The emails include a draft of an agreement.  Councilman Downard even saying that until an agreement is reached, they should "keep the story quarantined.”   

“There was no settlement very clearly if you look at the documents all of them say agreement and in the first memo i sent I say we cannot form a settlement, we have to have all the parties we are not doing that but if we can reach an agreement that causes everyone to be happy and Steve's clients to be happy that he can withdraw the lawsuit then we'd be fine,” Councilman Downard said.

Downard says he thought he was trying to speed up the process but Yates says he shouldn't have gotten involved.

During an executive session, the county attorney advised the council members to not discuss the pending litigation any further and waiting for the appeal process to finish.


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