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Ethics complaint against Mayor Craig Greenberg and his wife is dismissed

Mayor Craig Greenberg and his wife Rachel.
J. Tyler Franklin
This is the second ethics complaint against Rachel Greenberg to be dismissed in a little more than a week.

The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission approved an order to dismiss an ethics complaint against Mayor Craig Greenberg and his wife, Rachel, alleging nepotism violations and abuse of power.

Thursday’s hearing follows a months-long back-and-forth with the Ethics Commission and the Mayor’s Office in response to a formal complaint filed against the mayor and his wife, Rachel.

Former executive director of the Jefferson County Republican Party, Malcomb Haming, filed the complaint last October to investigate the Greenbergs based on reporting published by the Courier Journal earlier this year.

Mayor Greenberg filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in December. The commission granted that motion Thursday.

The complaint alleges that Rachel Greenberg held an official position within Metro Government, thus violating the city’s nepotism code. This is the second complaint filed against Rachel Greenberg concerning her role in Metro Government. The second complaint was dismissed last week.

Recent reporting from the Courier Journal showed that Rachel does have a Metro Government (@louisvilleky.gov) email address and in office in Metro Hall.

According to Haming’s complaint, a student — who had listed their internship role with the SummerWorks program on LinkedIn— added “Special Assistant to the First Lady” to their job description online. The Courier Journal reported the student held the position over the summer last year.

“The resources that were granted to Rachel as First Lady for her volunteer work are consistent with resources given to other local Metro volunteers,” said Amy Cubbbage, Greenberg’s lawyer during the ethics hearing last week.

The mayor is also under the microscope in relation to the SummerWorks program. The program is meant to prioritize connecting kids from disadvantaged backgrounds with job opportunities.

Since the program began in 2011, 54% of the young adults in the program came from ZIP codes in west, south, and central Louisville, according to Kentuckianaworks.

The complaint alleges that Greenberg used his position to hire relatives of his former associates through the program.

During the hearing last week, Cubbage said three of the Summerworks interns were “pre-identified as a candidate,” meaning their employers chose them before the hiring process began for the internship role.

The complaint names the granddaughter of Steve Wilson, founder of 21c Museum Hotel and Greenberg’s former boss, and the daughter of Mariana Barzun, the Mayor’s Office of Philanthropy’s former executive director, as the two of the interns that were “pre-identified.”

The Ethics Commission concluded Thursday that Mayor Craig Greenberg did not directly violate ethics code and had no hand in the hiring process of the interns.

Cubbage said the Summerworks program does not limit its hiring to solely young adults that live in disadvantaged communities, but rather the program is open to all students in Jefferson County between 16 to 21 years old.

“If a kid from Prospect [an affluent community in Louisville] wants to apply for a job, they're not turned away, but [SummerWorks is] not out recruiting in Prospect,” Cubbage said.

The individuals mentioned in the complaint met the criteria of the program and were not given special treatment, Cubbage said during the hearing last week.

The decision follows an announcement from Craig Greenberg, raising the SummerWorks hourly wage to $12 an hour to $15 an hour and adding new job opportunities for the upcoming summer season.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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