Ky. Democratic Party hits Thieneman in new TV ads in battleground Louisville Senate district

10/18/2012 05:38 PM

The Kentucky Democratic Party launched two ads Thursday criticizing Republican Senate candidate Chris Thieneman in an attempt to hold on to the 37th Senate seat held by Louisville Sen. Perry Clark, who has been out-spent in this race by more than $100,000 so far.

The two ads each running 15-seconds will likely be run back-to-back or in the same television commercial break in the Louisville market to take the space of a 30 second typical commercial. The ads can also run in spots for the smaller 15-seconds with a tease designed for viewers to “stay tuned,” for the next ad.

The first ad the Kentucky Democratic Party is releasing says Thieneman has been rejected three times before in runs for political office, and they say he’s not good with money or paying his tax bills on time.

The second 15-second spot goes into more specifics saying Thieneman mishandled a charitable event for kids with cancer that brought in $3.3 million but only paid out $29,000 to the charity. The event, the Mint Jubilee, is a Kentucky Derby party and dance that pays celebrities to attend to mingle with paying guests. Watch the two ads here:

Thieneman said Thursday he was in meetings and could respond only by text message.

In a response to the ad’s arguments, Thieneman wrote: “This is the same song they always sing. I handed over close to a quarter of a million dollars to the James Brown Graham Cancer Center in one year alone. The accountants write our donations as expenses.”

The ads focus on two years the non-profit 501©3 Mint Jubilee Corp. performed poorly – including the 2004 Mint Jubilee when it spent more money on the event than what it returned for the charity. Tax documents from the foundation shows no charitable donation for that year.

A May 6, 2011, report on effectiveness of Kentucky Derby Parties by the Courier-Journal shows, “Celebrity hospitality and celebrity travel expenses accounted for $99,661 of the costs, according to the minutes — $72,161 over the planned “celebrity budget” of $27,500.”

The documents the Courier-Journal report focuses on came from a 2009 lawsuit between Thieneman, one of the Mint Jubilee’s founders, and the University of Louisville Foundation – who benefits go towards the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.

Thieneman’s counter-argument that the Mint Jubilee does raise money does ring true, while the parties are expensive to hold occasionally there is very little profit for the organizations they benefit.

But in several instances the organizations benefit substantially – - including the 2010 Julep Ball which raised $265,000 for the James Graham Brown Cancer Center – according to the 2011 Courier-Journal report.

A spokesperson for the University of Louisville’s health science center, which is the indirect beneficiary of the donations to the James Brown Graham Cancer Center, said there have been “successful,” and unsuccessful years for the Mint Jubilee.

“There are years where there as funds donated as a result [of the Jubilee] and years where they were less successful,” said Gary Mans, director of communications for the University of Louisville’s health science center.

Thieneman also said he pays his tax bills on time, and that he has them to show.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. He is now the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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