Another official has disappointed us – or lived up to our expectations – depending on which side of the political fence you’re standing.
On Monday, State Auditor Adam Edelen released a special examination of the administration of the former Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer.
Newly-elected KDA Commissioner James Comer asked for the audit as he took office.
It was a good idea to clean up the mess he obviously suspected.
The results of the 150-page audit aren’t pretty.
Richie Farmer – Mr. Basketball – “Unforgettable.” His fans adored him and his status as a former Kentucky Wildcat helped him gain office.
And how did he repay that adoration?
The man who wanted to be lieutenant governor “showered himself with gifts and office equipment and rewarded friends with jobs” during his term. He had state employees take him hunting and shopping, mow his yard, build a basketball court in his backyard and chauffer his dog.
“The former commissioner reportedly shot a deer from his state-issued vehicle and directed the employee to bag it for him,” according to the report.
Somehow that disturbed me more than some of the other allegations.
There is so much more. Employees paid for doing no work; missing computers; extravagant gifts; misuse of tobacco settlement funds; and the famous 60-inch TV with expedited shipping so Farmer could watch a basketball game.
The allegations are not as extravagant as some we’ve heard about – but inexcusable all the same.
Farmer declined to participate in the audit.
And his troubles may be just beginning.
The report is being referred to the Kentucky Attorney General, Executive Branch Ethics Commission, IRS, Kentucky Department of Revenue, Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Personnel Board.
We’ll be hearing more about Farmer’s tenure in months to come.
The report can be viewed on the auditor’s website auditor.ky.gov.
– Editor Linda Ireland