Richie Farmer fails to file financial disclosure form with ethics panel

jbrammer@herald-leader.comMay 2, 2012 

FRANKFORT — Former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has failed to file an annual financial disclosure form covering his last year in office with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Farmer was the only Kentucky constitutional officer who did not meet an April 16 deadline to file the financial disclosure form for 2011.

Earlier this week, a scathing audit of the Department of Agriculture under Farmer revealed that he had accepted expensive gifts that he did not report to the ethics panel.

Executive branch officials are required by law to file a form each year with the commission detailing their and their spouses' financial information. They also must disclose non-family gifts worth more than $200.

Katie Gabhart, general counsel for the commission, said the ethics panel would be presented at its May 14 meeting with information about Farmer's failure to file a financial disclosure form and the state audit released this week by Auditor Adam Edelen.

The panel can decide whether there is probable cause to direct a hearing officer to consider any alleged violations of ethics laws, Gabhart said. The penalty for any violation could range from a public reprimand to a $5,000 fine.

Farmer was sent a letter last week requesting the disclosure form, but he has not replied, Gabhart said.

Farmer's attorney, Guthrie True of Frankfort, said Farmer's failure to file a disclosure form for 2011 was "simply a matter of oversight on Richie's part given with what all has been going on."

Edelen's audit, requested by current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, found that Farmer used state employees and resources for personal benefit and accepted expensive gifts, including $900 in concrete from a local contractor, for a basketball court at his home.

Edelen referred the audit to Attorney General Jack Conway, the ethics commission and several other agencies.

Here's a summary of the disclosure forms for other constitutional officers in 2011:

Gov. Steve Beshear

The Democratic governor and his wife, Jane Beshear, listed four sources of gross income exceeding $1,000 other than his job: a Schwab One investment account in Lexington containing investments, two Hilliard Lyons investment accounts in Hopkinsville, and income from Hourglass Farm in Lexington.

The couple reported owning at least $10,000 or a 5 percent interest in Hourglass Farm. Jane Beshear reported being a member of Advalorum Investment Club in Lexington and owning an interest worth at least $10,000 or 5 percent of the business.

The Beshears identified three creditors to whom they owe more than $10,000: Farm Credit Services of Mid America in Louisville, Schwab One Account in Lexington and Hilliard Lyons Account in Hopkinsville.

Steve Beshear listed two gifts worth more than $200: University of Kentucky football and men's basketball season tickets, and an honorary membership in Frankfort Country Club.

Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson

Abramson, the former mayor of Louisville who became lieutenant governor in December, and his wife, Madeline Abramson, reported gross income exceeding $1,000 from UBS Investment Accounts in Louisville and owning their home in Louisville.

Abramson owes more than $10,000 to Republic Bank in Louisville for a mortgage. He received no gifts last year worth more than $200 from outside his family.

Former Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo

Mongiardo, now president of Appalachian Regional Head and Neck Center in Hazard, and his wife, Allison, listed a farm in Franklin County as their only business partnership.

The couple said they owned the medical center in Hazard and receive gross income exceeding $1,000 from medical condominiums in Hazard; the farm; and securities in Altria, Caterpillar Inc., Coca-Cola, Intel, Microsoft, Pepsico, Pfizer and Philip Morris.

They also own an interest worth at least $10,000 in 22 acres in Darfork Hollow in Perry County.

They reported receiving no outside gifts worth more than $200 and listed creditors of more than $10,000 as First Trust Bank and Whitaker Bank, both in Hazard.

Attorney General Jack Conway

Conway and his wife, Elizabeth Conway, reported having a trustee position in Conway Insurance Trust and a partnership in BCRS Partners, a real estate development company in Louisville.

For businesses in which they own an interest of at least $10,000 or 5 percent of the business, the Conways listed private investment income with Kinder Morgan Energy, IRA funds, American Funds Group, mutual funds in a 401(k) and interest in racehorses Stately Victor and Morgan's Guerilla.

The Conways reported receiving income in excess of $1,000 from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

The couple listed real property of at least $10,000 in their Louisville home, property near Nolin Lake in Leitchfield and undeveloped lots through BCRS Partners at Preston Crossings in Louisville.

Former Auditor Crit Luallen

Luallen and her husband, Lynn Luallen, reported income from their family farm on Old Versailles Road. They listed one creditor to whom they owe more than $10,000: First Federal Savings Bank of Frankfort.

Treasurer Todd Hollenbach

Hollenbach and his wife, Rosemarie Baylon Hollenbach, disclosed membership in Hollenbach Group LLC and Pinnacle Partners LLC.

For businesses in which they own an interest, they listed Keytronic Corp., Madcate International, Breckford Corp., NorthStar Realty, Sunstone Hotels, RSO, Vanguard Reserves, Linn Resources, Legacy Resources, Hollenbach Group and Pinnacle Partners.

They also said they received gross income from Eaton Vance Funds and Black Rock Funds.

They own their home in Louisville and owe more than $10,000 to TD Ameritrade and Scottrade.

Former Secretary of State Elaine Walker

Walker and her husband, Charles Dorian Walker, are co-owners of Peridot Pictures Corp. in Bowling Green and are managers of Greatest Adventures LLC in Bowling Green.

They own their home and rental property in Bowling Green.

Their creditors are PNC Mortgage, Independence Bank and Bank of America.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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