The report says the former University of Kentucky basketball star illegally hired friends and family, used department resources for Christmas gifts and made state employees mow his yard and build a basketball court at his home on state time.
Farmer did not interview for the audit. His attorney, Guthrie True, calls the report a political stunt by two men, State Auditor Adam Edelen and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who hope to have long political futures.
“My response is I think in a lot of ways we’re going to find that the audit itself is a very political and self-serving audit. It’s pretty much what we expected,” True said in his Frankfort office.
Edelen says it appears several of Farmer’s actions were illegal, and the law doesn’t make exceptions for basketball greats.
“The responsibility for holding accountable a man I once cheered as a kid is a grim one. But the law makes no distinction between icons and the rest of us and neither do I,” Edelen says.
Both Edelen, a Democrat and Comer, a Republican like Farmer, were united in their blame of Farmer for many of the problems at the department. Comer says when he interviewed all Ag Department employees during his transition, his team determined morale was at an all-time low. And Edelen says that many employees said they felt if they did not go along with the abuses, they would be fired from their jobs. Edelen says the workplace under Farmer was hostile, and it appears Farmer violated the law. The report has been sent to state and federal law enforcement agencies.