Update: Jim King's wife Debbie announced that King died of Myeloma cancer after this story was posted. Our sincerest prayers to the King family.
Louisville, KY - Metro Council President Jim King died early Wednesday at age 63 after a long illness. Sources say that King had been suffering from heart problems for several months. Other rumors include worse. No matter what happened there is much to the life of Jim King.
King was old school power who let nothing and no one stand in the way of getting what he wanted. While mainstream media in Louisville reports all the good about King they never would hold him accountable. I did.
You can read all about that here.
The thing is even though Jim King would spend or do anything to get what he wanted, he would walk all over people, threaten them, buy them, anything to get what he wanted, at least from my perspective, I was always confused.
King seemed to be always genuinely concerned that you like him. He never understood his actions in the quest to get what he wanted made it so hard to do.
That was always the paradox in dealing with Jim King. When he wanted something from you he was your friend, when you stood up to him he was your worst nightmare..
Last week I told the world on the Ed Springston Show about Jim King and Marianne Butler offering me the Metro Council District 14 seat, among other things, after the whole KREF situation had been resolved. I had agreed to meet with King one on one in private, yet he brought along Marianne Butler, on the advice of a common friend to try and "bury the hatchet" because I was told I was blackballed by King and could not get ad revenue to help offset costs of running MVM.
It was his attempt to convince me to like him. And his attempt to control me at the same time by buying me off. Even after everything that had occurred. Of course I declined the offers but I paid the price for it. It hurt me personally, professionally, hurt me financially, and hurt my family as well, but selling out for personal gain would make me part of the problem and not the solution so I refused.
I left our meeting wondering what in the hell made King tick. He had went after me personally for daring to challenge him, had tried to destroy my personal life, had spread the word that I was off limits professionally or else, cost me money I didn't have, and worse, yet somehow he seemed genuinely concerned that I like him anyway.
Even after our history, he called me occasionally to give me information on his enemies in hopes that I would investigate and do what he wouldn't, or couldn't do, politically. Even he knew I could be relied upon to do the right thing regardless of the source. He knew that no matter what, if it was wrong, he could depend on my integrity to do the right thing.
It was a weird relationship.
I have received a ton of calls and email this morning from those who think I am happy now that he is gone. Nothing is further from the truth. Am I happy King is out of power? Most definitely. Am I happy his death is the reason why? Of course not. His family will mourn and suffer, why would I or anyone wish that pain on someone else?
It was never personal for me with Jim King. The reason I spent so much time outing King was because of his attacks against me and the way it affected my family. In short, I had to protect them so as in anything, knowledge is power. I needed knowledge and needed protection so I went public with my findings and fight. To shield and protect my family.
The more I learned the more important it became to hold him as accountable as any other elected leader. Holding the most powerful politician in Louisville accountable is just as important as holding the weakest one accountable. No elected official is beyond accountability nor should they be.
It wasn't personal but necessary, so I was always shocked when Jim would call and say "hey Ed this is Jim King have you got a minute?"
Holding King, as an elected leader, accountable had made him try to destroy me, yet the same thing he tried to take me down for is the same thing he wanted me to do on his behalf.
He just didn't seem to understand that actions had consequences and he couldn't understand if someone didn't genuinely like him because of his actions.
My experience with Jim King was one that brought me face to face with the two sides that he was.
While he will be described as a good man who cared so deeply about his family and our City, I also got to see and experience firsthand the worst side of Jim King that the mainstream will not show us.
There is no doubt King loved and cared for his family. There can also be no doubt that King would do whatever is necessary, legal or illegal, to get what he wanted with no regard or concern about who he was hurting in the process.
King's biggest problem to me was he never could reconcile the two sides that made up Jim King.
One can only wonder if that struggle within himself ultimately is what led to his untimely death.
My prayers go out to his family, especially his daughter Katie King, who depended on him for everything in her life.
He will be missed in some form or fashion, for better or worse.
Listen daily from 7-8pm at The Ed Springston Show. Also visit Louisville Politics for more details and in depth coverage of local political and news issues.
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