City employee denies giving information to KLC connection

Calls director's fraud accusations false

lblackford@herald-leader.comAugust 24, 2010 

A city employee Monday flatly denied he was pressured to use a specific vendor or that he gave out information about bids for actuarial services.

Tom Sweeney, claims manager for Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, said Law Commissioner Logan Askew did not tell him to use an actuarial service used by the Kentucky League of Cities, nor did Sweeney give the actuarial company inside information in the bidding process when Lexington switched its insurance business to the League in 2007 and 2008.

Sweeney said allegations made in 2009 by Patrick Johnston, the city's director of risk management, were "false." In a questionnaire about possible fraud, Johnston questioned whether KLC was given preferential treatment in the bidding.

Sweeney was speaking Monday to the city council investigative committee looking into Johnston's allegations and how they were handled.

Of interest to committee members was Sweeney's statement that he was never interviewed by external or internal auditors about Johnston's claim.

"I thought that was very interesting, so we'll have follow-up questions on that," said committee chairman George Myers. "It would be nice if the internal auditor (Bruce Sahli) would come and talk to us because it does concern me that a direct allegation was made and that employee was never questioned about it."

Sahli has refused to speak to the committee, citing the integrity of the audit process. He has also sued the committee to challenge its subpoena power, marking one of the first times a city has paid to sue itself.

The committee will meet again Thursday at 9 a.m.

Reach Linda Blackford at (859) 231- 1359.

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