Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says the indictment of his predecessor Richie Farmer won't be an issue for the state Agriculture Department.
After taking office, Comer and his staff have helped with the many investigations of Farmer's tenure as commissioner. And Comer says he's made it his goal to restore public confidence in the department.
A federal grand jury has indicted former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer on four felony counts of misappropriating state funds and one of solicitation. The indictment, unsealed today in Lexington, charges Farmer with using his state position to obtain thousands of dollars' worth of gifts, hotel rooms, clothing and computers. It also charges him with hiring friends who did little or no work for the state. The indictment says that throughout his tenure as agriculture commissioner from 2004 to 2012, Farmer wrongfully used public funds and state resources to obtain goods and services for himself and his family.
Prosecutors released no information Friday about the findings of a federal grand jury looking into whether former UK basketball player-turned politician Richie Farmer violated criminal laws during his eight years as state agriculture commissioner.
It's not clear what the grand jury is investigating, but Farmer was accused last month of 42 ethics violations, including accusations Farmer gave jobs to friends, had state employees build a basketball court on his property and gave state-purchased laptops to his family members.