At the same time its CEO is departing, Greater Louisville Inc., the Metro Chamber of Commerce is in flux, with members’ financial pain translating to dropped memberships at Louisville’s main economic development organization.

This week, Insider Louisville received from sources another GLI drop list. The latest list includes 63 large companies that have dropped their memberships from 2009 through 2011, memberships worth a total of about $200,000 in annual dues.

This revelation follows an internal document leaked to Insider Louisville  last week listing about 1,300 companies, mostly small businesses, that had dropped their GLI membership, a loss of about $700,000 in funding.

The two documents inidcate the loss of $1 million in aggregate annual funding during the past three years. Moreover, a number of prominent banks, businesses and long-time chamber of commerce members have left including:

  • Whittenberg Construction Company, which had been a chamber of commerce member since 1992. Whittenberg executives did not return calls for comment. But the GLI notation on their membership drop stated company officials disagreed with GLI policy.
  • American Synthetic Rubber Company, a large Louisville employer which had a $10,000 annual membership, according to GLI documents.
  • PepsiAmerica, with 240 employees, had been a chamber member since 1950.
  • King Southern Bank (See story below.)
  • UBS Financial Services, the Louisville offices of the Zurich, Switzerland-bsaed financial services giant.
  • Forcht Bank. Executives at the Lexington-based bank did not return calls for comment, but the GLI drop notation states, “Found no value in membership.”

Several major companies including Netherlands-based insurer AEGON gave up their GLI memberships after shutting down operations here. AEGON had been a Presidents Circle member, paying $15,000 in annual membership.

To be sure, GLI has kept its largest donors including Brown-Forman, Chase, Humana and UPS. Hundreds of Louisville companies donate between a few thousand and more than $100,000 each in annual memberships.

GLI has more top investors now than at any time in its history, said Carmen Hickerson, GLI vice president, public affairs & communications. But, Hickerson said the econ-dev/chamber group is not immune to the underlying economic conditions, adding that GLI is faring at least as well, if not better, than chambers in other cities.

The dropped membership documents were submitted to Insider Louisville after GLI’s controversial President and CEO Joe Reagan announced he would leave the economic development/chamber of commerce organization for a position with the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association.

As with the list of smaller companies, the economy seems to be the main driver in the larger companies’ decisions to drop memberships and annual dues ranging from $2,500 to $15,000. But executives at several major companies including Jim King, CEO and Chairman of King Southern Bank, are listed on the GLI document as having dropped their membership – a $4,000 Private 100 membership in the case of King Bank  – because they “disagreed with GLI policy.”

King Southern Bank’s break last April with GLI is notable because King represents the 10th District on the Louisville Metro Council. As Metro Council president,  King likely will weigh in on who replaces Reagan.

Hickerson said  GLI executives have told her there is no internal list of large dropped donors, and that GLI has maintained a total membership of about 2,500 companies for a decade. (Editor’s note: Insider Louisville was able to confirm the majority of the dropped memberships on the list.)

But, there always is “a considerable fluctuation” in membership organizations, Hickerson added. “Anyone who drops, we make every attempt to resolve whatever issues they have,” she said.

As for King, Hickerson said, “I’m sure we’re working with him, We’re working with every member to address whatever issues they might have.” She noted that Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co.executives  dropped their membership due to differences with GLI’s advocating a failed proposal for a library tax in 2007.

“We take bold positions,” Hickerson said, adding that it’s not surprising members would sometime disagree. Stock Yards has since rejoined as a top donor, a point confirmed by bank CEO and Chairman David Heintzman in a recent email.

“We are not seeing anything out of the ordinary,” she added, citing industry documents indicating GLI has a membership retention rate – 76 percent – comparable to peer cites, which average 77 percent.

King said the bank dropped its GLI membership not because of a disagreement, but because bank executives are “looking at all costs and expenses.” King went on to say that as a metro councilman, one of the selling points of the 2003 merger of city and county governments was that it would end duplicate economic-development efforts.

A month ago, the metro council brought in former city economic development director Margaret Handmaker to explain how GLI and city economic development efforts overlap. “Her report was, there is no overlap at this time,” he said.

Louisville metro government gives at least $1 million to GLI annually, with the remainder of the chamber/economic development organization’s funding coming from membership dues.

Insiders are telling Insider Louisville that Mayor Greg Fischer is at least considering using that money to expand the city  economic development cabinet, cutting GLI funding and leaving the organization its chamber functions including business networking and lobbying.

Insider Louisville was unable to contact all 63 companies on the list. But in a sampling, it appears budging concerns play a bigger role than internal politics.

Rick Simpson, CFO for Appriss Solutions Inc., confirmed his company dropped its $7,500 Private 100 Founder membership. Appriss, which operates national victim notification databases, will rejoin when it can justify the membership financially. “Although we are a profitable company,” Simpson wrote, “I am not one to simply add cost. We are working with GLI to find investment tax credits.”

Employees at several firms including Hardscuffle Inc., the holding company for Nana Lampton’s American Life and Accident Insurance Company of Kentucky, confirmed they had renewed memberships.

Moreover, a detailed look into the list revealed clarifications of the circumstance many of the companies listed as having dropped.

For example, the University of Kentucky is listed on the document as having had a President’s Circle membership, paying annual dues of $10,000. But Tom Harris, UK vice president of media relations, said the $10,000 was a one-time donation related to a 2009 trip to Madison Square Gardens to see UK’s mens’ basketball team play the University of Connecticut. Officials from three chambers went on the trip – GLI, Commerce Lexington, the Greater Lexington Chamber  of Commerce and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

“We are still a member of GLI … but at the most basic membership level,” Harris said.

Here’s the full list:

2009 Top Investor Drops

Company Name         Previous Annual Investment     Number of Employees   Address    Description                    Date Joined          Date Dropped    Member Level

American Synthetic Rubber Company, LLC $10,000 338 P.O. Box 32960 Louisville KY 40232, Synthetic Rubber,  5/20/09 1/31/09, President’s Circle

Dignity Memorial Funeral & Cemetery Providers $2,500 8 2727 South 3rd Street Louisville KY 40208, Funeral Homes 1/24/06 9/30/09 30 Trustee

IMAAGE/Tom Haas MD PSC $2,500 7 7501 New LaGrange Road Louisville KY 40222  Physicians & Surgeons 3/26/08 11/30/09 4, Trustee

KBB – King, Bridgeman, Bosse, Constructors, LLC, $5,000 4 P.O. Box 1265 Prospect KY 40059 Contractors/Construction 1/18/06 6/30/09 14, Private 100

Little Brownie Bakers $3,353 525 2287 Ralph Avenue P.O. Box 16159 Louisville KY 40256-0159. Manufacturers 9/22/04 2/28/09 14. Trustee

NetGain Technologies, Inc. $5,000 49 4124 Wahl Street Boulevard Louisville KY 40218-3265 Ms. Susan Masek Communications 7/15/04 7/29/09 10 Private 100

Padgett, Inc. $2,500 200 901 East 4th Street New Albany IN 47150 Mr. R.J. Padgett  Construction Equipment & Supplies 11/15/07 5/31/09 4 Found no value in membership Trustee

Polo Fields Golf & Country Club $3,055 10 17001 Polo Fields Lane Louisville KY 40245  Country Clubs 6/12/07 1/31/09 14

RéVive Skincare $2,500 11 214 South Clay Street Louisville KY 40202 Dr. Gregory Bays Brown  Skin Care/Cosmetics 7/31/06 5/31/09 14  Trustee

Sypris Solutions, Inc. $2,500 315 101 Bullitt Lane Suite 450 Louisville KY 40222 Mr. Tony Allen Manufacturers 11/1/05 5/31/09 2 Trustee

Total Concept Electric Inc. $2,500 3 11878 Capital Way Louisville KY 40299 Mr. Richard J. Taylor, Jr.  Electrical Contractors 6/6/05 10/31/09 14 Trustee

United Graphics of Louisville, Inc. $2,500 22 742 South 11th Street Louisville KY 40210 Mr. Steve W. Siegwald  Printing, Copying & Engraving 12/13/07 6/30/09 14

Whittenberg Construction Company $2,500 150 P.O. Box 9429 Louisville KY 40209 Mr. D. Bruce Jones (502) 361-8891 Contractors/Construction 11/1/92 2/28/09 3 Disagree with Chamber on issues Trustee

2010 Top Investor Drops 

Atlas Brown, Inc.    $2,500    14    333 East Main Street   Financial & Investment Services    7/11/05    7/31/10    23   Trustee

DeLor    $5,000    4    902 Flat Rock Road    Mr. Kenneth D. DeLor     Marketing Services    3/23/09    8/31/10    30    Private 100

First Financial Bank    $2,500    17    140 Whittington Parkway    Suite 100    Louisville    KY    40222    Mr. Greg DeMuth   Banks    10/11/00    7/31/10    14   Trustee

Georgetown College    $2,500    300    400 East College Street  Georgetown    KY    40324    Dr. William H. Crouch, Jr.   Education    6/21/07    1/31/10    20   Trustee

Harmon Construction Inc.    $5,000    6    621 South State Street   North Vernon    IN    47265    Mr. Bill Harmon  Contractors/Construction    10/1/06    11/30/10    3    Disagree with Chamber on issues     Private 100

Home Instead Senior Care    $2,500    212    4610 Taylorsville Road    Suite 100    Louisville    KY    40220    Ms. Becky Beanblossom  Home Health Care Services    6/1/02    4/30/10    10   Trustee

Hunt Construction Group    $5,000    300    2450 South Tibbs Avenue   Indianapolis    IN    46241    Mr. Daniel Shumaker  Contractors/Construction    12/7/07    4/30/10    2   Trustee

Invesco    $2,500    100    400 West Market Street    Suite 3300    Louisville    KY    40202    Mr. George Baumann  Financial & Investment Services    1/10/03    7/31/10    10  Trustee

Jani-King of Louisville    $2,500    9    9750 Ormsby Station Road    Suite 100    Louisville    KY    40223    Mr. Ron Poore   Cleaning Service    12/17/10    2/28/10    21    Trustee

John Glascock & Associates, Inc.    $2,500    9    P.O. Box 501        Prospect    KY    40059    Mr. John R. Glascock    Human Resources    8/16/04    2/28/10    2    Trustee

Kentuckiana Comfort Center, Inc.    $5,000    70    2716 Grassland Drive        Louisville    KY    40299    Mr. David R. Garland  Heating & Air Conditioning    7/20/05    12/31/10    10    Private 100

Lauth Property Group    $2,500    9    401 Pennsylvania Parkway        Indianapolis    IN    46280     Commercial/Industrial Developer    11/14/06    3/31/10    24    Trustee

PCM Construction, Inc.    $5,000    35    P.O. Box 19166        Louisville    KY    40259    Mr. Tom Clements     Masonry Contractors    11/20/03    3/31/10    23   Private 100

PepsiAmericas    $2,500    240    4010 Crittenden Drive        Louisville    KY    40209,  Beverages/Soft Drinks-Distributors & Bottlers    1/1/50    5/31/10    2       Trustee

Preferred Marketing Solutions    $10,000  180  2001 Papa Johns Boulevard   Louisville    KY    40299    Mr. James B. Leopold   Promotional Products    4/28/06    5/31/10    23    Presidents Circle

Risk Management Services Corp.    $2,500    43    P.O. Box 22989        Louisville    KY    40252    Mr. Jeff Rausch, ARM       Insurance    3/31/99    1/31/10    14     Trustee

Scarborough Mechanical Service, Inc.    $2,500    75    4615 Bittersweet Road  Louisville    KY    40218    Mr. Greg Scarborough  Heating & Air Conditioning-Equipment and Services    1/9/08    5/31/10    2   Trustee

UBS Financial Services, Inc.    $2,500    45    100 South 4th Avenue        Louisville    KY    40202-2977    Mr. Chris Hudson  Stock & Bond Brokers    9/14/07    3/31/10    30    Trustee

UBS Financial Services, Inc.    $2,500    75    4801 Olympia Park Plaza        Louisville    KY    40241    Mr. Frank Roccisano  Stock & Bond Brokers    9/10/07    3/31/10    30  Trustee

United Glass Corporation    $10,000  60    10200 Forest Green Boulevard Louisville    KY    40223    Mr. Lawrence E. O’Connell Glass    8/6/04    8/31/10 14 Presidents Circle

WorldBridge Partners    $5,000    5    12935 W. U.S. Highway 42   Louisville    KY    40059    Mr. Dave Wallace Employment Agencies & Services    8/6/09    10/31/10    4   Found no value in membership     Private 100

2011 Top Investor Drops

AEGON    $15,000    600    P.O. Box 32830        Louisville    KY    40232-5330    Ms. Sharon Long    Insurance    1/1/50    7/31/11    21    Presidents Circle

Appriss, Inc.    $7,500    168    10401 Linn Station Road    Suite 200    Louisville    KY    40223    Mr. Michael Davis Victim Notification    10/31/95    5/31/11    30   Private 100 Founder

B.F. South, Inc.    $5,000    600    1903 Stanley Gault Parkway        Louisville    KY    40223    Mr. Ulysses L. Bridgeman, Jr.  Restaurants    5/1/87    7/31/11    30  Private 100 Founder

Comstock Brothers Electric Co., LLC    $5,000    8    1753 Old Preston Highway North   Louisville    KY    40229    Mr. Jay Comstock  Electrical Contractors    11/13/07    3/31/11    30    Private 100

Constellation NewEnergy Gas    $2,500    115    9960 Corporate Campus Drive    Suite 2000    Louisville    KY    40223    Ms. Leslie Harmata Energy Management    11/11/04    4/30/11    4    Found no value in membership     Trustee

Forcht Bank    $2,500    40    10505 Taylorsville Road        Louisville    KY    40299    Mr. Jeff Rogers  Banks    11/24/08    4/30/11    4    Found no value in membership     Trustee

Fultz Maddox Hovious & Dickens, PLC    $2,500    39    101 South Fifth Street    Suite 2700    Louisville    KY    40202-3116    Mr. Phil Martin Attorneys    12/28/09    5/31/11    10     Trustee

Hardscuffle, Inc.    $5,000    0    3 Riverfront Plaza        Louisville    KY    40202-2975    Ms. Nana Lampton  Financial & Investment Services    10/27/09    4/30/11    20    Private 100

Jan Scholtz Realtors, Inc.    $2,500    3    126 South Sherrin Avenue        Louisville    KY    40207    Ms. Jan Scholtz   Real Estate-Residential    8/22/07    1/31/11    20    Other     Trustee

john conti Coffee Company, Inc.    $865    43    4406 Ole Brickyard Circle   Louisville    KY    40218    Mr. Danny Roos     Coffee    11/30/07    5/31/11    30    Private 100

King Southern Bank    $4,000    30    3400 Dutchmans Lane  Louisville    KY    40205    Mr. Jimmy King Banks    7/29/04    4/30/11    3    Disagree with Chamber on issues     Private 100

Meiners Electric    $2,500    46    4630 Astor Road        Louisville    KY    40218    Mr. Tim Meiners Electrical Contractors    12/21/07    5/31/11    30  Trustee

Mortenson Construction    $2,500    3    100 Witherspoon Street    Suite 1200    Louisville    KY    40202    Ms. Lynn Littlejohn    (763) 287-5516    Contractors/Construction    3/19/07    1/31/11    30   Trustee

OfficeMax, Inc.    $2,500    25    2700 Stanley Gault Parkway    Suite 104    Louisville    KY    40223    Mr. Tim Jackson Office Furniture, Equipment & Supplies    10/10/96    1/31/11    30  Trustee

Papercone Corporation    $2,500    140    3200 Fern Valley Road        Louisville    KY    40213    Mr. Brooks H. Bower     Manufacturers    11/16/09    4/30/11    4    Found no value in membership     Trustee

PeopleStrategy, Inc.    $2,500    4    25W560 Geneva Road    Suite 15    Carol Stream    IL    60188    Mr. Randy Cooper     Software Development    8/3/06    1/31/11    21    Trustee

Santa Rosa Systems, Inc.    $5,000    42    2931 South Floyd Street      Louisville    KY    40209    Mr. Greg Judge  Material Handling Equipment    10/23/07    3/31/11    30  Private 100

Securitas Security Services USA, Inc.    $2,500    400    1930 Bishop Lane    Suite 1017    Louisville    KY    40218    Mr. Tim Gritton Security    10/10/06    6/30/11    14      Trustee

Tucker Booker Donhoff + Partners    $2,500    20    716 East Market Street        Louisville    KY    40202    Mr. Robert Booker    Architects    11/8/95    6/30/11    2     Trustee

University of Kentucky    $10,000    0    Peterson Service Building    Room 322    Lexington    KY    40506    Mr. Bill Harris   Education    12/4/09    4/30/11    20   Presidents Circle

Waterfront Park Place    $2,500    4    222 East Witherspoon Street        Louisville    KY    40202    Mr. Joseph MacDonald   Apartments    10/30/08    8/31/11    10    Trustee