10/11/2017 — Braidy Industries Drama + Louisville’s Mayoral Candidates

Braidy Industries drama

  • Braidy Industries is the corporation that is supposed to be opening an aluminum rolling mill in Greenup County. They are receiving $15 million in public funding. Public documents show that there are several other investors in the project, but their identities have been withheld
  • The $15 million was transferred to an LLC called Commonwealth Seed Capital, which is owned by a state board that also governs the economic development cabinet. Ultimately, the money was invested in Braidy Industries.
  • The media made several public records requests and the only investors that were named were Commonwealth Seed Capital and Craig Brouchard, who is Braidy’s CEO
  • On October 3rd, in an attorney general opinion, Andy Beshear’s office said that Matt Bevin cannot shield the identity of the shareholders.
  • The withholding of the identities was challenged by Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus.
  • Argue that the public should be entitled to know whether shareholders have ties to any public officials who were responsible for the big public investment
  • The Bevin administration argued that the shareholders fell within an exception to the state open records laws for companies seeking economic development incentives
  • They also argue that disclosing the identities could reveal private information and give competitors an unfair advantage
  • Counterargument to this is that they’re only asking for names, not other personal financial information
  • It was an assistant attorney general, James Herrick who wrote the opinion, and he stated that the $15 million dollar state investment is an “extraordinary investment of public funds in Braidy,” and that makes the identities of investors a matter of public interest
  • “(T)he Commonwealth has conferred a direct benefit on the Braidy shareholders in the form of a capital injection into Braidy, moreover, the Commonwealth is now in business with those shareholders. This creates a heightened public interest in disclosure.”
  • The state plans to appeal to Franklin Circuit Court


  • http://www.wdrb.com/story/36553563/bevin-administration-to-go-to-court-to-keep-identities-of-braidy-industries-investors-secret
  • http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2017/10/06/kentucky-public-financed-company-not-legal-secret/594183001/
  • An unrelated, but also relevant Braidy story we haven’t talked much about
  • “Braidy Industries has implemented a formal policy that…if an employee ‘takes a knee,’ meaning disrespects our flag or our veterans in any publicly visible way, such employee is subject to termination, with cause.”
  • So a private company can do whatever it wants. But there may be an issue with this — the state’s large investment in the company.Because who is subject to the First Amendment? The Government. And this is a company significantly backed by the government.
  • But for the First Amendment to apply, they must be considered a state actor. There is a lot of case law about whether an entity is a state actor and there have been several instances where private individuals and companies have been considered state actors because they were acting on behalf of the government or the government and the private actor have a symbiotic relationship or a joint enterprise.


Louisville Mayor Race Update

  • We talked to Mayor Fischer a few weeks ago, and since then, two opponents have emerged for him in the race to be Louisville’s mayor.
  • The first person to enter the race was Republican Angela Leet. She’s been a Metro Council Member since 2014, representing the 7th district, which is the northeastern section of town between the Watterson and the Snyder — Mockingbird Valley and the Brownsboro area.
  • Leet entered the race with a video in which she said “can either keep building bike lanes, or we can begin building a better city by solving the tough issues. The lack of leadership in our community has destroyed families from drug overdoses, violent crime and gangs. Our priorities must change so that all areas of our community are safer and more prosperous. ” She’s taken flack in some quarters for her bike lanes comment.
  • Leet is leading the charge trying to get police chief Conrad fired. She led a “vote of no confidence”, which saw GOP councilmembers join with many west end Democrats in saying they wanted the mayor to ditch the chief. The vote was essentially useless, but it does show the coalition she’s trying to build.
  • Last week, I called Angela Leet an east end soccer mom, which wasn’t very cool! My bad. She owns a company and is an engineer, plus she’s a Metro Council member. I have no idea what sports her kids play.
  • Also entering the mayoral race is Ryan Fenwick, a Democrat. The only information we have about him seems to be coming from his twitter and a story from WDRB. He is kicking off his campaign soon, and there is very little information (like, not even a website) about him so far.
  • I know he’s a board member for KFTC and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
  • From what I can tell about him, I think his law office is really close to where we record.
  • Maybe we’ll know more about him soon.
  • Jackie Green, who I think we can start calling a “perennial candidate”, is also running as an independent. He owns a bike shop.



Quick Hits

We expect for pension legislation to be released ANY DAY NOW. But, it’s not out yet.

I wrote a thing. I made “Yarmuth Scores” for all the US Representatives from Kentucky, comparing their voting records to John Yarmuth. It was an insightful project! https://rkahne.github.io/blog/2017/10/10/the-yarmuth-score/

The state’s general fund receipts were up by 4.1% in September. If you’ll remember, very early projections of a budget shortfall made the Bevin administration call for drastic budget cuts. Turns out that might have been premature! State budget director John Chilton said “we continue to expect that fiscal year revenues will face headwinds and we will be cautious with our planning in the coming months.” https://insiderlouisville.com/metro/general-fund-receipts-climb-4-1-percent-in-september-state-says/

Dan Johnson has pre-filed the Abolition of Abortion in Kentucky Act, which would outlaw abortion in Kentucky, and would make it a felony to perform one