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In a recent ad in The Pioneer News, paid for by Jimmy Smothers, I was accused of receiving $150,000 from the City of Shepherdsville in return for a $500 piece of property.
A few months ago, The Pioneer News also ran an article, quoting city council member Dana James and city attorney Joe Wantland, stating I had received $150,000 for a $500 easement. All of these claims are untrue. I challenge anyone to produce a canceled check proving otherwise.
It seems like The Pioneer News is not going to take the time to fact check these claims, so I will try to set the record straight.
The easement in question is located on the vacant river lot I own across from the Billings Funeral Home. During Mayor Joe Sohm’s administration, I voluntarily gave the city two sewer line easements for free on this parcel. Years later, it came to light the sewer line that was installed on one of these easements was actually not installed within the easement at all.
Instead of running the edge of the property, the line was installed directly in the middle of my lot. This severely damaged the value of my property. When this mistake was discovered, the city was already long passed their deadline to open its new line serving Jim Beam. This line was not part of the Jim Beam line, though moving it to the correct easement would have caused even more delays and penalties for the city.
In exchange for granting a third easement on my lot where the mistaken line was laid, the City of Shepherdsville offered to extend the sewer line on Charles Hamilton Way. This extension would serve a piece of property of my own, along with parcels of several other owners. I agreed to this.
The estimated cost for this extension was $68,000 and the estimate for moving the mistaken line was $500,000. This seemed like a cheap alternative for the city. The tap on fees that will be paid on the extension from my property alone will be close to 4 times the cost of the extension.
With this agreement, the city was able to turn a costly mistake into a very profitable investment. This is exactly the same thing that was done to serve other unserved areas of the city, such as Settlers Gap and Sycamore Bend.
I was one of several property owners who benefited from the Charles Hamilton Way extension. I was never given a dollar in this exchange. All I have done is accept an offer from the city to fix a mistake the city made on my property. I did so in good faith and with no ill intent. Today I have been accused of illegal acts of which I am innocent. These accusations have been in open council meetings and in this paper. To date, I have not received a correction or an apology.