Investigation claims background check could have saved city millions

Investigation claims background check could have saved city millions

Excerpted from a WDRB Story by Stephan Johnson

A year-long investigation in Louisville, Kentucky uncovered new details about TARC’s former executive director.

The 210-page report, released last week, says Ferdinand Risco behaved like a “sexual predator.” The report claims there was a “systemic failure of oversight and accountability from the initial hiring to the day Risco was asked to leave.”

Risco resigned in February 2020 amid allegations of sexual misconduct involving multiple TARC employees. TARC has filed a half-million-dollar lawsuit against Risco, accusing him of fraud, malice and corruption. No criminal charges have been filed against Risco.

Thomas Clay, who represents five of the women, settled lawsuits with the city.

Denise Bentley, a former Louisville Metro councilwoman, helped bring the allegations to top city officials after being contacted by several female TARC employees.

“Unfortunately, I had lived the report with the women that were involved with Risco at TARC,” she said. “When the first female came forward to me to tell me about her issues at TARC, I kind of wrote it off as an inner office relationship that when bad. When there were six women that came to me, I realized there was a problem, and it was a problem that needed to be addressed immediately.”

The report says Risco “traveled extensively and lavishly on TARC funds” and claims there was “no formal background investigation conducted.”

“He had the same pattern of conduct down in Atlanta,” Clay said.

An investigation by retired FBI agent David Beyer concluded that “had a thorough background investigation been conducted, it is quite likely that sufficient negative information would have been developed to prevent this calamity from occurring.”

“It’s apparent from David Beyer’s report here that there was literally no vetting done on this man who came in and wreaked havoc on the whole organization,” Clay said.

Beyer’s report also reveals disturbing allegations from Risco’s time as director of diversity and equal opportunity in Atlanta.

You can read the full story here.

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