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Mayor Gray responds to Eli Capilouto’s letter


Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is doing some major damage control this morning after UK President Eli Capilouto laid the smack down with his letter to Brent Rice. Mayor Gray just tweeted the following response:

Game-changing projects create passion and emotion, especially when things don’t go as hoped, so I think it’s important to step back, take a deep breath, and sit down with all our partners and work things out. UK is so important to Lexington; and Lexington is so important to UK. A vibrant city engages everyone… and a vibrant city creates jobs. So I hope we can continue to work on an agreement that benefits UK, Lexington and our entire state.

Remember, Mayor Gray and Governor Steve Beshear will be on tomorrow’s radio show. Things should get interesting…

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

67 Comments for Mayor Gray responds to Eli Capilouto’s letter

  1. gobgblu37
    11:05 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    You really think the Mayor and Governor are going to show up now. No way, they will come up with some excuse.

  2. Nice try, but not really...
    11:15 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Yes, “UK is so important to Lexington” but he’s full of crap if he thinks “Lexington is important to UK.” UK would be prosper regardless of it’s location in the state of Kentucky, it’s not like people go to UK just because it’s in Lexington. Every season teams have there only complete sell out of the year when UK comes to town, I say we just kick UofL out and take over the Yum Center, kill two birds with one stone…

    • UKGrad
      11:34 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I loved being in Lexington when I went to UK and there’s no way in hell I would’ve attended it in Louisville. I hate Louisville. I would’ve went to Western before attending UK in Louisville.

    • Ukgrad95
      12:15 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Nice try,
      you are on the right track here… I agree, Lexington is garbage and needs to be taken out of the picture. I TRULY look forward to the day that I can get on KSR without seeing a post about lexington and this darn arena. I live in louisville but love my cats. As far as cities go, lexington doesn’t even come CLOSE to comparing to our state’s largest and finest city. Louisville wasn’t voted the nations top tourist destination for 2013 for nothing. It’s a super hip, fun place to be that has been referred to as “the new portland” for years. Louisville currently has the largest ratio of young professionals moving in and staying out of any city in the country.. I mean, come on. As if it wasn’t clear enough, does lexington have churchill downs? No. Kentucky kingdom? No. The zoo? No. Everything our state is known for comes from louisville: the hot brown, Kentucky derby, bourbon, KFC, Louisville slugger… Visit areas in louisville like the highlands, Germantown, NULU, and old louisville to see why lexington just simply doesn’t have the history that Louisville does as a major city.
      So UKgrad… Sadly buddy, this is where you and I disagree.

    • You've posted this before
      12:31 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      And you were wrong before. Bourbon came from Bourbon County, adjacent to Fayette County. Kentucky Fried Chicken came from Corbin, KY. To call Lexington garbage just shows ignorance. It was ranked 25th best place to live in the US by Bloomberg Business Week.

    • Thebigblue
      12:52 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Youve posted this,

      I dont know who you are… But you couldn’t be more wrong. I work for the bourbon heritage center and we teach visitors the history of bourbon every single day. Perhaps you should try doing a little more research or visit our center sometime. It is true that those counties you mentioned had a part in producing and distributing bourbon. But the FACT is that bourbon was first distiller on corn island in Louisville shortly before the founding of the city. There were many additions to the recipe since that first date, but the fact remains that the first production was off of what is now 5th street in downtown Louisville. And a little history lesson for you since it appears you don’t read much. Bourbon did indeed get its name from bourbon county, but what you fail to realize is that at that point in time the state of Kentucky had only 3 counties… Bourbon country stretched from Louisville all the northeastern and central Kentucky. More counties were formed out of those later. Enjoy the new knowledge buddy.

    • Ukgrad95
      12:59 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      You missed the point entirely brother.. It only got that rating because it is a quiet little place. My entire argument is that it is TOO quiet. Nothing fun to do. Sure, it’s a decent place to raise a family.. But it’s a horrible place to be a young person. That’s why Louisville has the largest influx of young professionals and Lexington isn’t even on the list.. Nice try though.
      Also, colonel sander was born, raised and died in Louisville metro.. That’s what I meant. It’s why yum! Is now based there

    • Ukgrad95
      1:06 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      To be clear.. I think I’d MUCH rather live in the NUMBER 1 tourist destination in the nation than the 25th quietest place. Lexington sucks through and through. There is a reason Louisville consistently wins awards like “manliest city in the country” and “best food city in the country” also we have “the best tasting water in the nation. A single neighborhood in Louisville can put all of Lexington to shame. Old Louisville for instance is BEAUTIFUL and has the largest collection of Victorian houses in the nation. How do you beat that? I think we should start a #MoveUKtoLouisville campaign

    • Nice try
      1:47 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I myself wouldn’t call Henryville, IN, Louisville. If you want to do so, feel free. According to his autobiography he grew up in IN, lived in AL for awhile, and didn’t even move to Jeffersonville, IN until he had kids and then didn’t stay there long. He moved to Winchester, Nicholasville, and Corbin after that. He never once mentions living in Louisville. I find it curious, if indeed he ever did live in Louisville, why he would not say so.

    • Nice try
      1:58 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Look UKGrad95 that article lauded Lexington for its happening night life. You may not have been here since 1995 but the city has changed a great deal since you were a student. The downtown and UK area are much more vibrant than when you were in school.

    • Ukgrad95
      2:14 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Nice try,

      Have you even read his autobiography? I know the man lived in quite a few places but he was born in southern Indiana which he himself stated was “growing up around the city of Louisville on the river” as a grown man with a family he indeed chose Louisville as his home where he worked, lived, died, and is buried. I appreciate your input however, but you need to revisit his book.

      Also, I visit Lexington quite frequently since I’ve graduated… And I’m sorry to say not much has changed. I’ve tried the nightlife.. It’s honestly as I remember it. That of a small town that happens to have a college. Pretty weak compared to Louisville which is a major US city that Happens to have a college too.

    • Here you go
      2:37 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink
      He called himself a farmer, not a city boy. Henryville, IN is 22 miles from Louisville. For someone born in 1890 that was a significant distance and not a trip to be taken often. The Model T didn’t make an appearance until 1908 and only wealthy people could afford cars before that. I dont know about you but riding in a horse-drawn wagon 22 miles and back wouldn’t be something I would look forward to.
      No one with any sense would call a city of over 350,000 inhabitants a small town. That’s ludicrous.

    • UKGrad
      3:09 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Ukgrad95 you are a Tard. I don’t care about young professionals moving in, and I certainly don’t care about your crappy zoo. No way anyone will ever convince me that a freaking polar bear wants to be in Louisville, KY. Unless the animals are incapable of living on their own in their natural environment, they should not be caged in a zoo. And Churchill is a dump. Sure it gets attention once a year for the Derby and that’s a great thing, but I’ll take Keeneland any day over Churchill. And KY Kingdom….lol if that is a bragging point. And when you start bragging about “Manliest City” and “Best Tasting Water” you are really reaching. The Manliest City thing was a stupid magazine article, not some scientific study. And the water tastes fine here in Lexingon, good lord.

    • UKGrad
      3:11 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Also, I don’t want Lexington to be a major city like Louisville. I love it the way it is. With less homeless people than Louisville, less crime, and less morons.

    • You read this and weep
      6:28 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Forbes ranked Lexington 27th in Best places for business and careers

    • UKgrad95
      6:36 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Last I checked I’ll take a larger market that is paired with a VERY selective list of about 12 which includes NYC, LA, and Chicago ANYDAY… over a 27th spot on an arbitrary list. Better start that weeping now, buddy…

    • UKgrad95
      6:44 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Just so I am making myself Clear… Louisville is on a list of 12 of the best cities in the ENTIRE COUNTRY for starting a business. Louisville is on the same list with NYC, LA, and CHICAGO on that VERY SELECTIVE list of 12 (TWELVE) of the best cities in the country.. Lexington couldnt dream of being even thought of being mentioned.
      … And you try to counter with an arbitrary ranking of every city. Bahahaha. For the record, Louisville also shares a relatively high spot on that list. But that is for careers. The selective list is about starting a small business which correlated with my previous point that Louisville has the highest ratio of ANY CITY in the country of young professionals moving in and sticking around. Louisville’s economy is BOOMING

    • UKgrad95
      6:48 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Here you go,

      You should attempt revisiting his autobiography because you sound like you either didn’t absorb much or you are pretty jaded. He is often quoted as saying he loved his early childhood trips into the downtown of the city. And answer me this… IF he didnt love Louisville and live there.. then why is he buried there? seems to me I wouldnt be buried somewhere i didnt spend a lot of time.

    • UKgrad95
      6:52 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink


      You need to adjust yourself fella.. you seem very jaded also. You dont HAVE to hate our states biggest city you know? try giving it a chance sometime. It really is a hip and happening place. The zoo, Kentucky kingdom, and churchill downs really are great attractions (Churchill DOMINATES keeneland, no question… and not just cause of derby day. Excluding derby, Churchill has double the regular season attendance). And kentucky kingdom is kentucky’s only major amusement park.. really quite fun. and the “manliest city” and “best tasting water” isnt reaching, friend.. it is just icing on the awesome cake. experience Louisville.

    • UKgrad95
      7:01 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      ALSO, a little more icing on the cake…
      Old abe wasn’t the only president from Kentucky you know? (which for the record.. besides his childhood it is documented that he spent most of his time in kentucky in the city of Louisville with his dear friend J. Speed). The ONLY other president of the united states to be born and buried in kentucky was a Louisvillian… Zachery Taylor was born and raised in Louisville and calls the city his final resting place. Thats Pride. Not many Major cities are humbled enough to have a United states president as a permanent resident.
      Also, Thomas Edison lived in Louisville for a period. Old Louisville was actually the first large pubic space lit using his incandescent lightbulb during the sourthern expo…
      you STILL think lexington compares to Louisville’s history and pride? I think it is clear which Kentucky city takes the cake here.

  3. UKkathy
    11:15 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    This is great. The Mayor has to be back on heels and I am glad. I, for one, wanted our own arena, not tied to the city whatsoever. If UK did not play downtown, then goodbye downtown. I, for one, could not care less about the downtown. GO CATS!

    • I’ve posted this before, but I can’t help but think all the way back to the days when Rickie P was pushing for an on-campus arena. I think he was pushing for it in the early 90’s, but it was at LEAST the mid 90’s.

      I think Rupp should still be in the name, and we should call it “Rupp Hall”. That way Joe B. gets his name in there as well!

    • Bomb 'o' Matic
      11:27 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I love some Joe B, but I do not think he did enough to warrant naming an arena, full or partially, after him.

    • That may be. How about “Joe B. Hall Court at Rupp Center/Coliseum/Gymnasium/Hippodrome”? (Yay thesaurus!) 🙂

    • Ghost of Marty Brennamen
      12:03 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Its already called Cawood’s Court. I would hate for them to change that too.

    • Oops! I forgot about that. That’s what happens when you’ve lived out of state for a long time. Then have a hallway called “Hall Hall”!

      Seriously, I think they could name a section or pavilion after Joe B. Maybe the luxury suite that UK officials would be sitting in for games could bear his name.

  4. Government does not create jobs. When government gets out of the way, the American people (entrepreneurs) create jobs.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:34 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Amen! The mayor has botched this to the point of being laughable. Downtown Lexington is just a disaster, and deserves someone who can improve it better than Grey. Which would be just about anyone by the looks of things.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:36 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      *Gray. That’s how little I think of him, that I can’t even be bothered to spell his name right when it’s written above.

      11:42 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I agree. If the Rupp renovation is to happen then it should be from private funds. I do not want Rupp to be the next Yum Center, a tax burden.

  5. eric
    11:16 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    So I guess LCC pulling UK’s lease immediately would not be a good move. Goes against the spirit of “working together”, I guess. Still love to see that though. “Sorry UK. Your lease is suddenly up. go play at Memorial if you want to, but you can’t play here.” That would be sweet.

    • Not a lawyer, but...
      11:32 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I highly doubt that it would be legal for a lease owner to just pull the rug out from under their tenant like that. Thats, you know, kind of why contracts exist in the first place…

    • Well, going back even further than Rickie, Eddie Sutton wanted to have 1 game a year in Memorial. He talked about how much more intimidating the crowd would be since they would be right on top of the court like the arena at Arkansas at the time. He proposed some sort of lottery with higher ticket prices than usual so that the revenue would be the same.

    • L1C6
      11:35 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      eric, you don’t sound very intelligent.

    • eric
      8:31 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

      Weeeellllll FU very much!

  6. JDH
    11:21 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Should have tied this in with the Commonwealth Stadium renovation and made Commonwealth Stadium a football and basketball facility.

  7. big nut
    11:24 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Thinking— how much would it cost to put a roof on commonwealth stadium!!!!!!!!

    • JDH
      11:56 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Saw on one website where the retractable roof for Lucas Oil Stadium was between $70 and $90 million. For the roof alone. There would be other costs associated with putting a roof over Commonwealth for use for basketball, obviously,

  8. Mack
    11:27 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I’m thinking that the mayor wasn’t expecting the UK response that he received. Capilouto didn’t come across as the normal slimy politician that the mayor is use to dealing with every day in Kentucky or the United States for that matter thus his call to “step back”, ball is now fully in the mayor’s court.

    • Reality
      11:34 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Mayor Gray is a businessman by nature and career, he’s only been in politics since his first mayoral campaign 4 years ago.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:38 am May 22, 2014 Permalink


      True, Gray is a businessman by career. That’s why I was hoping he would create a climate here where exciting new businesses could flourish. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case

    • ktmiln2
      12:02 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      To be a “Speaker of Truths” you sure say a lot of dumb, stupid shit.

    • Speaker of Truths
      12:05 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Dumb and stupid are synonyms, you cretin. But great job being redundant, much like I’m guessing your whole life is one massive, pointless, redundancy. And please, tell me what you think Jim Gray has done well. He sure did wonders with that massive, fenced off plot of unused land downtown. And it looks like he’s really knocking it out of the park on this one too.

    • Uhhh..
      12:14 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Speaker of Truths – The city does not own the land you are talking about. Blame the Webb brothers if you are going to blame anyone. What they chose to go with stinks.

    • Reality
      12:17 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Lexington’s growth is outpacing the rest of the state, unemployment is significantly lower than the state average, and for the most part the city is flourishing in the last few years. It’s consistently listed as one of the best places to live, start a business, start a family, etc on national rankings.

      Mayor Gray and President Capilouto aren’t responsible for the foolishness Brent Rice who, based on the letter published this morning, either didn’t have his ducks in a row before going to the General Assembly and seemingly tried to improvise the negotiations; or he was just behaving like a politician and angling for more money than he really wanted in the hopes of a “compromise” that gets him what he was actually there for and failed spectacularly.

      UK doesn’t necessarily need Rupp to be renovated (and may not need it at all eventually), but the arena definitely needs UK on board if they want to improve the facility. Based on how President Capilouto’s letter read, UK is unhappy with how this process has been handled, disinterested in continuing to work with Mr. Rice, and willing to look at other options for basketball in the future.

    • Joe
      2:42 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink


      If you think Mayor Gray is some sort of political neophyte, you are simply mistaken. Prior to running for mayor, he served for years on the LFUCG Council, and I believe he was Vice Mayor to Mayor Newberry.

      And really now we are going to blame Brent Rice for this fiasco? Did Mayor Gray not meet with the General Assembly himself? Is the city’s involvement on this project not directed by the Office of the Mayor? Sure, it is easy to blame Mr. Rice, but Mayor Gray has been adamant about leading this renovation charge, and he should accept the consequences when it all falls apart.

      Your use of economic statistics is a bit misleading. Of course Lexington will outpace most of the rest of the state due to its size and the amount of money within the city. It is not surprising that Lexington’s unemployment rate is lower than the state level, considering it includes areas of this state (particularly in the far east) that is experiencing massive levels of unemployment.

      It is a mistake to ask the public to fund a venture like this. If it is going to be such a profitable opportunity for the city, then why not let private entrepreneurs fund it? Getting the city involved will create a short term boom in terms of money and jobs flowing into town. This will only be temporary, however, and then we could potentially have a real unemployment issue on our hands.

      Overall, Gray really has not done that bad of a job. But he has decided to gamble his political career on this MASSIVE public spending initiative, which runs contrary sound fiscal and economic principles. He deserves as much blame as anyone for this.

      And shame on you Matt for throwing Senator Stivers under the bus for the past few weeks. It is not surprising that the new scapegoat in this will be Mr. Rice. I wish KSR could avoid such partisan bias, and recognize this project as the albatross it is.

    • Ukgrad95
      8:45 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Bahahahaha xD reality… Your comment about Lexington outpacing the rest of the state is a joke. Lexington is in a flaming heap. Meanwhile.. Louisville’s economy is booming. See the source I posted a bit further up

    • Dee W.
      12:46 am May 23, 2014 Permalink

      Reality said: “Mayor Gray…’s only been in politics since his first mayoral campaign 4 years ago”

      “Reality” – that is not correct. Gray has been involved in politics for a very long time and that was not his first run for political office nor his first run for mayor. He also ran in 2002 for mayor and lost. He was also the Vice Mayor the 4 years prior to his current term as mayor (meaning he was the highest vote getting in the at-large council race).

  9. I love me some Eli, but....
    11:37 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Love the fire from Eli, but let’s face it; there is plenty of blame to be passed around for the renovation not getting passed. The UK basketball experience is incredible, but Rupp is long overdue for a facelift. It’s very outdated with horrible bench seating not made for the obese slobs who blob into my bubble. And the video screens and sound system are DII level. I hate the dirty birds but the experience at Yum is the standard

    • Turner the Burner
      12:01 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      A facelift is a little different than what this plan was designed to do. Keep Rupp separate from the convention center deal and maybe something could happen.

  10. I don’t get caught up in all the technical details of this fight because I can’t keep up with them, but the ONE thing you can take away from Eli’s letter, especially at the very end, is that UK IS prepared to build on-campus if this isn’t resolved to their satisfaction.

    I agree with #6. It would be great if a swanky b’ball arena could have been attached to Commonwealth.

    • Speaker of Truths
      11:40 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I’m not sure the money would be there to build an on campus arena. I was reading that the UK lease at Rupp is over in 3 years, which would certainly be time. But with all the building that’s been done on campus lately (the new dorms- Champions Court- in particular), and all the academic buildings that still need to be renovated, I’m not sure the money is there. They would have to hike tuition rates and really start hitting the phones hard for donations from alums, I would think.

  11. bbmike
    11:58 am May 22, 2014 Permalink

    it will end up being downtown at rupp at some point. it sounds to me(which i agree from reading all the articles on this) they city NEVER had a sound financing plan. I thought the same thing as president Eli-when they decided to switch from 65-80M of state funding I knew there would be a problem. lack of a sound strategy and the city using those coal severance funds was a HUGE mistake!

  12. Chad
    12:23 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Mayor Gray needs to quit being light in his loafers, grow a pair and come up with a resolution.

  13. fairplay
    12:35 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Who the hell can blame Stivers for not coming tomorrow. Beshear , left winger along with Gray, ultra left winger, and the moderator, Jones, uber left winger.

  14. UK athletic association
    1:27 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    UK will never build an on campus arena. That has been decided. The land UK owns has already been designated for academic and housing. If UK ever decides to do that it will be on agricultural land owned by UK near the interstates. This possibility terrifies downtown businesses as they depend on UK for revenue. This isn’t the best scenario for UK either as students could not walk to the arena. LCC has to have UK as a tenant or they cannot survive. There is no scenario under which LCC would terminate UKs lease. UK holds all the cards in this deal. Business interests do not want to shoulder the risk. They want UK and state govt to do it. A game of chicken is being played. UK will get the deal they want eventually and Rupp will get renovated.

    • Turner the Burner
      1:49 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      This includes all land around Commonwealth and the current land where the football offices and baseball field is located?

    • Clearing the air
      2:28 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I think the original poster’s intent was all of the land that isn’t currently occupied. The university probably wouldn’t use agricultural lands to build a new arena either, since that’s a major research field at UK.

  15. UK athletics
    2:29 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Yes it does. In many respects UK is landlocked by neighborhoods around the campus. They have already claimed properties by imminent domaine and will continue to do that as neighborhoods with rentals deteriorate but supply is limited. UK has spent huge sums on medical and research facilities. They are bonded to the max. That is why they are letting private companies take over building, maintaining, and managing all new student housing

  16. UK athletics
    2:34 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    There is more agricultural land available than UK uses. Much of it was donated and at that time thoughts of a vet school were being discussed. Expanding campus to this area has always been a possibility.

  17. Big Fish in a little pond
    2:45 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    Kick his Ass Sea Bass…

  18. CJCat
    3:34 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    If this renovation project is such a great idea then Mayor Gray should float a loan from his own family “Gray Construction” pay them back plus interest from the increased revenue generated from the project then he, his family and the tax payers of Lexington and the State of Kentucky will be happy.

  19. Bradley
    3:38 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    I said it over a month ago, the Mayor is the problem. He is in totally over his head. The guy is completely clueless. Matt, I realize you have an axe to grind with the lawyer and would rather blame him (btw, he deserves his share), but the bottom line is Jim Gray(sp) is the most incompetent person to ever run this city.

    • The TRUTH!
      4:31 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      Bradley couldn’t agree with you more. This isn’t the only thing the Mayor has screwed the pooch on.

    • SevenT
      7:41 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

      I would tend to agree Gyms Gay is an absolute joke, his “lifestyle” is truly disgusting and he has absolutely no clue how to run City Government. He needs his Mommy to give him his old job back at the family business.

  20. To UKGrad95
    9:40 pm May 22, 2014 Permalink

    We get it, you hate Lexington. I’m sorry the women of Lexington have higher standards than the women of Louisville and rejected you. I’m sure it was very painful and you feel very bitter about it. But buddy, it is not good for your health to keep harboring such negative emotions. Let it go.