A Kentucky basketball icon turned politician could be the subject of a federal grand jury meeting Friday.
Frankfort defense attorney Guthrie True says the grand jury will look at former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission charged Farmer last month with 42 administrative ethics violations for allegedly misusing government funds and employees while in office.
Kentucky will shut down an expensive fuel testing lab run by the Department of Agriculture. The lab was meant to test the quality of fuel from pumps across the commonwealth. It was the brainchild of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who promised other states would eventually sign contracts with the lab and generate significant revenue…but those contracts never materialized and so far, the lab has been a money guzzler.
Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has been charged with 42 ethics violations by the executive branch of the Kentucky Ethics Commission.
The panel’s executive director John Steffen says the charges are for alleged misuse of state funds and state employees during Farmer’s two terms in office. He also says number of violation is the highest ever issued by the Commission.
“I believe 16 was the prior high number of counts containing an executive order, an initiating order,” Steffen said. “We have not seen misuse of office at this level in the nearly 9 years I’ve been with the commission I’ve not seen anything that compares to this abuse of public trust and abuse of public office.”
An ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture isn’t on the agenda of the Personnel Board’s last meeting for the year. Board members voted earlier this year to open an inquiry into personnel issues at the Department of Agriculture under former Commissioner Richie Farmer. Board Executive Director Mark Sipek says it could be months before the investigation is completed. A state audit accused Farmer of using state employees for personal business like hunting and shopping trips, yard work, and chauffeuring his dog.