Five Metro Council members formed a charging committee Thursday afternoon seeking to remove Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, from his position due to “misconduct, incapacity and willful neglect in the performance of duties of his office.”
Council President David Yates told The Courier-Journal Thursday morning that the charging committee would file its documents by that afternoon, with Democratic caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt confirming to IL that the committee was finalizing the details and would hold a press conference together Thursday afternoon.
Asked about the charging committee Thursday morning, Johnson told IL via direct message sent from his Twitter account that “I want to see what they say before I comment.”
In recent years, Johnson has been involved in embarrassing scandals, but recent allegations that he groped Councilwoman Jessica Green and exposed his buttocks to an aide of Councilwoman Angela Leet prompted his forced resignation from the Democratic caucus, and is now the impetus of the charging committee.
Last month, the Democratic caucus voted for a resolution that formally removed him from the caucus and urged him to voluntarily resign from the council by Aug. 1, or else he would face the formal removal proceedings of a charging committee.
Johnson initially attacked Green on Twitter when the allegation first came out, but then sent an apology letter to her on the same day on which the Democratic caucus issued a statement saying that Johnson was seeking counseling and would not run for re-election next year. However, Johnson’s attorney later claimed that he only made those concessions because he was told by leadership that it would make his problems go away, and the councilman maintains that his contact with Green was accidental.
Johnson has since given a couple of bizarre radio interviews in which he suggested that his brain injury from 40 years ago might explain some of his recent problems.
The charging committee that filed to remove Johnson from office includes both Green and Leet, as well as Councilman Brandon Coan, D-8, Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, and Councilman Robin Engel, R-22. The committee’s complaint includes the alleged actions of Johnson towards Green and the legislative aide of Leet, in addition to past incidents in which he wrote bad checks and was banned from future Greater Louisville, Inc. functions due to allegedly making an inappropriate comment to one of their female staffers on a GLI trip to Austin, Texas last year.
The charging document against Johnson also alleges that he failed to properly vet his former legislative aide who had allegedly been “fired for mismanagement and using racial slurs” at his previous job. It also refers to the head injury that Johnson mentioned in his WHAS radio interview, stating that his inability to remember recent events “limits his capacity to be accountable for his actions.”
The charging document also claims that Johnson was recently charged with theft by deception in Madison County, which had not yet been reported in the local media.
“The members of the Charging Committee believe these acts have exposed the metro Council to scorn and embarrassment; have created unnecessary and destructive conflict with members of the Council and other community leaders and citizens and have created a perception that Council members are exempt from standards of common civility and decency; and have created a hostile work environment,” states the document.
Hyatt says the first step of the charging committee would be to obtain a legal counsel to run the removal proceedings against Johnson. It would take a two-thirds vote of the council to remove him from office. The members of the committee plan to hold a press conference at 3 p.m.
The full charging document agaisnt Johnson can be read below.
This story will be updated.