Lexington snatches courthouse construction czar from state

lblackford@herald-leader.comJuly 2, 2009 

The newly announced head of facilities for the state court system will go to work instead for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.

Jamshid Baradaran, who recently retired from the Kentucky Horse Park, said it was a tough decision to turn down the Administrative Office of the Courts a day before his Wednesday start date. His appointment to the AOC had been announced in a news release Monday.

"The city made me an offer I couldn't refuse," he said. "It was a very hard decision because I really respect the AOC and Chief Justice (John) Minton."

Baradaran said his decision had nothing to do with tumult in the AOC's $880 million courthouse construction program, which he would have overseen. The AOC is in a dispute with Codell Construction of Winchester, which hasn't fully insured the work on a dozen new courthouse projects it is managing.

"It was no reflection whatsoever on AOC," he said. "I was looking forward to kicking Codell's butt."

Urban County Government spokeswoman Susan Straub said Baradaran would be the deputy director of building maintenance, heading up a new division that combines several departments. He will make roughly $93,000 a year.

"We are certainly disappointed to lose a candidate of his caliber, but we respect his decision and wish him well," said Laurie K. Dudgeon, deputy director of the AOC. "In the meantime, the AOC will consider its options in light of these circumstances."

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