Richie Farmer asks court to lower child-support payments

jbrammer@herald-leader.comAugust 13, 2012 

Richie Farmer

MATT GOINS

FRANKFORT — Former Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer wants his court-ordered child support payment reduced because he is no longer employed by the state and plans to undergo surgery.

A hearing on Farmer's request is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court.

The court last month signed a final order dissolving the marriage of Farmer and Rebecca Ann Farmer. She filed for divorce in April 2011, saying the marriage was irretrievably broken. They have three children.

The divorce made headlines because Farmer, a former basketball star at the University of Kentucky, was running for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket of gubernatorial candidate David Williams. They were unsuccessful.

In a motion filed Aug. 2, Farmer asked the court to "modify his current child support obligation based upon a material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing."

He noted that his support obligation was based on his pay of $110,346 a year as state agriculture commissioner. Farmer's term as state farm chief ended Jan. 1, 2012.

Farmer also said in his motion that he plans to have surgery this month and will be incapacitated for at least two months following the surgery. He did not say what kind of surgery was needed.

Farmer's attorney, Richard M. Guarnieri of Frankfort, did not return a phone call seeking comment. Neither did Rebecca Farmer's attorney, Brian A. Logan of Frankfort.

When she filed for divorce, Rebecca Farmer did not specify in it the reason for the divorce. It was filed two days after the couple separated.

However, she claimed in an affidavit that Farmer had "limited her access to the parties' finances" and that the only money she had access to came from her monthly income of less than $1,100 as a teacher's aide in the Franklin County public school system.

She said she was a "stay-at-home mom" for their three sons during 12 of their 13 years of marriage.

Farmer also is facing a foreclosure lawsuit on a mortgage loan of more than $300,000 on his Frankfort house off U.S. 127 North at 113 Cedar Ridge.

First National Bank of Manchester filed a foreclosure suit earlier this year in Franklin Circuit Court against Farmer and his wife. Her attorney said Richie Farmer had agreed to be responsible for making the mortgage payments.

The Clay County bank said no mortgage payments had been made on the Farmer property since at least January.

The foreclosure suit said the Farmers borrowed $321,561 from the bank in October 2004. No date has been set for the sale of the house.

Also, the state attorney general's office and state ethics commission are reviewing a scathing state audit of Farmer's eight years as head of the Department of Agriculture.

He allegedly misused state workers and resources for personal gain.

Frankfort attorney Guthrie True, who represents Farmer on the audit, has said the audit was politically motivated. He also has said Farmer has not been employed since leaving his state job.

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

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