CORRECTED: LG&E didn't bully Southwest Community Ministries or threaten to cut off donations over environmentalist
UPDATE: We regret to inform you, dear readers, that multiple sources were misled about LG&E’s involvement in the meeting cancellation debacle as reported below. As it turns out, the executive director of South West Community Ministries was responsible for cancelling the meeting.
Shortly after posting this story, we confirmed the director blamed the controversy on LG&E when it was in fact her decision. That makes the story below factually inaccurate. We apologize to LG&E for the error. We are working to document exactly what transpired.
Southwest Community Ministries is at the center of a controversy involving threats and intimidation by Louisville Gas and Electric over a neighborhood group seeking to use the ministry’s building for a meeting.
The group “Take Our South End Back” received approval from Southwest Community Ministries to use a meeting room in the ministry’s new headquarters for the purpose of selecting a board of directors.
The newly formed group’s focus is to improve quality-of-life in south and southwest Louisville and to help relay citizens concerns to elected officials more efficiently. While announcing the meeting on Facebook, invitations were publicly issued to interested parties.
One of the people publicly invited to the meeting was Colette Henderson. Miss Henderson is with the group Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, a statewide organization that has committed itself to – among other things – taking on the coal ash storage and contamination problem in neighborhoods near coal burning power plants.
Both of LG&E’s Louisville’s coal-fired power plants are located in southwest Louisville.
Multiple insiders say once LG&E got word that a member of KFTC had been invited to the neighborhood group’s meeting, LG&E called Southwest Community Ministries and told them to call it off, pretty much saying, “If you allow them to meet there with the coal ash haters, you can kiss our support for your organization goodbye”.
In the fall of 2011, LG&E donated $75,000 toward the purchase of the building that currently houses Southwest Community Ministries. The purchase price was $305,000. Apparently LG&E feels this amount is enough to justify dictating who uses the ministry’s facility.
LG&E also helps fund the ministry’s Winterhelp heating program that benefits low income families and seniors.
LG&E is ostentatious when it comes to giving to Winterhelp, bragging constantly about its commitment to helping people, but then threatens to literally kill the whole deal over a neighborhood group’s meeting that may or may not include a member of an organization that fights bullies and bastards like LG&E.
It should be noted that “Take Our South End Back” is not an environmental group. It is a neighborhood group.
The neighborhood group was contacted by Southwest Community Ministries at the last minute and told of the alleged threat made by LG&E, and also told the group they had no choice but to comply with LG&E’s demand because of the large sums of money involved.
We attempted to contact LG&E spokesman Chip Keeling for comment for this story, but Keeling has neither a listed phone number, nor an email address.
We’d love to hear their version of these events.
But with no email addresses or contact information, LG&E – like its power plants – is still living in the dark ages.