As Richie Farmer recovers from hip replacement, his Franklin County house is set to be auctioned

jbrammer@herald-leader.comSeptember 10, 2012 

Richie Farmer

MATT GOINS

FRANKFORT —Former state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's house in Franklin County will be sold at public auction Sept. 24 to help satisfy a foreclosure lawsuit against him.

Charlie Jones, master commissioner for Franklin Circuit Court, said Monday that the auction of the house off U.S. 127 North at 113 Cedar Ridge would begin at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at the temporary county courthouse. It is the 19th of 21 properties on the auction block that day, he said.

Farmer faces a foreclosure lawsuit on a mortgage of $317,929.22 plus interest, Jones said.

First National Bank of Manchester filed a foreclosure suit in May against Farmer and his then-wife, Rebecca Farmer. She filed for divorce in April 2011, and it was finalized in July.

Richie Farmer agreed in the divorce settlement to be responsible for making the mortgage payments, his attorney, Richard M. Guarnieri, of Frankfort, said Monday.

Farmer, who has been unemployed since his term as state agriculture commissioner ended in early January, had hip replacement surgery last month and is doing well, Guarnieri said.

The Clay County bank said in its lawsuit that no mortgage payments have been made on the Farmer property since at least January.

The foreclosure suit says the Farmers borrowed $321,561 from the bank in October 2004.

In April 2010, the Farmers signed a promissory note with the bank for $307,192 at 5.75 percent interest. The loan was to be repaid in monthly payments through April 2017, followed by a balloon payment — a large, lump-sum payment scheduled at the end of a series of smaller periodic payments.

The suit said the loan was secured with additional collateral that includes real estate in Clay County.

Farmer has been trying unsuccessfully to sell his Franklin County house.

The house, built in 2004, is assessed at $230,000, said the Franklin County property valuation administrator's office.

Jones, the master commissioner, said his office would do a drive-by appraisal of the house before the auction.

The house will be sold to the highest bidder, he said. A private purchaser must pay 10 percent of the sales price and close the deal within 30 days.

Farmer is facing other financial problems.

He is asking Franklin Circuit Court to lower court-ordered support payment for his three sons because he no longer employed is and has to deal with his surgery. A court hearing on the request is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Also, the state attorney general's office and state ethics commission are reviewing a scathing state audit issued earlier this year about Farmer's eight years as state agriculture chief.

The former University of Kentucky basketball star, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2011 on a ticket with Republican Senate President David Williams, 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.

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

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