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Frankfort Local News

Williams Says He Had “No Idea” About Farmer’s Alleged Misdeeds

Kentucky Senate President David Williams says he had no idea what trouble his former gubernatorial running mate Richie Farmer was causing as agriculture commissioner.

During an interview on Kentucky Sports Radio Wednesday, host Matt Jones asked Williams about the abuses of power and resources that were uncovered in a recent audit of Farmer’s time in office.

“Absolutely not. Are you kidding me? No, absolutely not,” said Williams. “As a matter of fact, at the time I asked him to join me on the ticket he was the most popular political figure in the commonwealth of Kentucky and that’s why you pick running mates, because they’re very popular.”

The audit was ordered by current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Various accusations of misdeeds dogged Farmer for much of last year’s campaign, but the audit put more evidence behind the allegations.

Farmer has stayed out of the public eye since leaving office in January. This is the first time Williams has commented on the audit. He also said he encouraged current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to request an investigation of Farmer’s time in office.

Categories
Noise & Notes Politics

Sneak Preview III: Noise & Notes Podcast

On this preview edition of Noise & Notes, I sat down with Kentucky Public Radio’s Kenny Colston and LEO Weekly’s Joe Sonka about the scathing audit of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. It appears the only question left besides how far Farmer has fallen is will the former basketball star and lieutenant governor candidate be prosecuted.

Later in the program, Louisville defense attorney Brandon Lawrence stopped by to discuss the little talked about Commonwealth’s Attorney race. The race has become somewhat controversial since the murder of a 15-year-old boy, and a suspect who was released early for being an informant for the prosecutor’s office.

Listen below:

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Categories
Frankfort Local News

Richie Farmer’s Attorney Calls Audit “Political and Self-Serving”

An audit of former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer’s administration has revealed multiple abuses of state resources.

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.

Categories
Frankfort Local News

Audit Uncovers Richie Farmer’s Rampant Abuse of State Funds, Employees

An audit of Richie Farmer’s two terms as Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner has revealed a toxic culture of entitlement and an extravagant misuse of taxpayer dollars, state employees and time.

Current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer requested the audit earlier this year. State Auditor Adam Edelen released his final report today, showing more than a dozen infractions by Farmer and a consistent abuse of state law.

Auditors found that Farmer “called a merit employee who was attending a training course at a local university and directed him to drive him to an outdoor sportsman’s store in Indiana. In another, he reportedly directed an employee to drive him to hunt. The former commissioner reportedly shot a deer from his state-issued vehicle and directed the employee to bag it for him.”

“The law makes no distinction between icons and the rest of us, and neither do I,” Edelen says in the statement. “The report paints a clear picture of an administration that had no qualms about treating taxpayer resources as its own. The former commissioner had state employees on state time take him hunting and shopping, mow his yard, build a basketball court in his backyard, and even chauffer his dog. He showered himself with gifts and office equipment and rewarded friends with jobs. These are just some of the documented abuses that should outrage every Kentuckian.”