(On the settlement of Mike Ladd's lawsuit)
Mike Ladd will be leaving town soon to get on with his life, and in a great many ways, it can be said that Mike was chewed up and spit out by the civic dysfunction that's as much a part of life here in New Albany as stifling summertime humidity and the mafia's brilliant orange-uniformed disguise as the Harvest Homecoming junta.
Almost from the moment Mike came here to succeed Nick Cortolillo at the UEA, the games began. Develop New Albany, then tethered to the UEA's revenue stream for sustenance, staged its own South Sudan henhouse flight amid cacophonous squawking and flying feathers, pausing only to dictate self-serving reunification terms. Mike shrugged and went about the business of administering an efficient, streamlined UEA, upon which I served a term, and was fortunate to be a part of something that actually worked.
But, as Cortolillo wrote in 2012, "The city of New Albany wanted unlimited access to the enterprise association’s revenue and Ladd was in the way."
It's a shameful chapter in the city's perennially underachieving history. For three years, Mike was under constant pressure from the grubby, sneering, small-time confidence trickster's avarice of Doug England and Carl Malysz, only to have the incoming Gahan administration complete the task of decapitating him. It was ugly and unnecessary. It was the very essence of why New Albany fails.
Does anyone even know what the UEA has accomplished since then?
Mike submitted the following as a letter to the editor of All About Jeffersonville, but it has not been published, and I've been given permission to run it here.
We wish all the best to Mike, wherever he lands, and whatever he does next.
I recently settled a lawsuit against the City of New Albany for my wrongful termination from the Urban Enterprise Association. I'm not a litigious person; I've never had to sue anyone before, but I was told it would be the only way my contract would be honored. I did what the Gahan administration told me to do and they refused to honor its word. It is unfortunate to be forced to such extremes to receive what is rightfully due one.
But, small minds seek small solutions and fight for even smaller purposes.
This administration is mired in controversy and scandal. When one hears of the number of former city employees who haven't had their contracts honored, the many fights with its own police department, the state police investigation of that same department, his fight with the little league association, other nonprofits, neighborhood groups, county government, and other situations, the problem can't lie with all these different people and entities; it is not always the others who are wrong cases like these.
It is the individual who is the problem.
That any mayor would choose to become the central figure in such a trivial matter, creating an unnecessary contract dispute and prolonging it for no purpose, surely would cause thoughtful people to ponder the nature of his character. On an everyday basis, most mayors should have more important things to do. But Jeff Gahan chose to ride point on my case. His reasoning and logic are his own. The fact remains that he was named by both his city attorneys as point person is proof enough. The pointlessness is baffling. I had already stated privately my intention to resign the position once a new board was appointed. The way was clear for the Gahan administration to take over the UEA at its leisure. All they had to do was to honor a simple contract.
Whether my alleged transgression is real or imagined remains a mystery to me. But it must be imagined since my contact with Gahan as councilman was minimal. I occasionally received word through others that he supported my efforts and thought the UEA was on-track. All I can think now is this was mis-direction, of which he has so often been accused by others.
Michael Ladd, former executive director, New Albany Urban Enterprise Association