Metro Council’s Jim King Cautious About Arena Financing Options

No one ever accused Jim King of being focused, except when it comes to covering his political posterior.

The President of the Louisville Metro Council has been all over the place on the downtown arena project, gung ho when things are going well, pessimistic when the project is confronted by challenges. After a meeting of the Louisville Arena Authority on Thursday, King told Business First he remained “cautiously skeptical” about the outlook for financing for the arena project.

Not cautiously optimistic, but cautiously skeptical?  The choice of words is very curious. It is as if King has pre-conceived notions about the desirability of the available financing options. He’s a banker, you know.

King said he  would be comfortable with a new financing plan as long as it does not cost Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government more money.

One would think a person who portrays himself as a get-it-done community leader and big-time financier would have been more positive about the project. King is the founder and president of King Southern Bank. Presumably the bank is one of the institutions involved in discussions. In addition, he also is a non-voting member of the Louisville Arena Authority and a University of Louisville basketball season ticket holder.

A banker, a UofL fan, an elected official, and a member of the Arena Authority — all reasons for him to want the project to succeed.

King should be deeply involved in key discussions about arena financing, being creative about options, shaking the bushes for necessary resources, instead of acting as a mere observer. One gets the distinct impression, however, that King doesn’t want to be too closely identified with the project when it goes down the tubes.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.