Richie Farmer and ex-wife testify at child-support hearing

jbrammer@herald-leader.comSeptember 13, 2012 

FRANKFORT — After nearly an hourlong hearing Thursday, a judge did not rule on former state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's request to lower child-support payments for his three sons.

Franklin Family Court Judge Squire Williams said he would take the issue under advisement and enter an order as soon as possible.

Farmer, who used a walker after undergoing hip replacement surgery Aug. 30, and his former wife, Rebecca Ann Farmer, testified at the hearing. She filed for divorce in April 2011, and it was finalized in July.

Richie Farmer, a former University of Kentucky basketball star, wants the court to reduce his $1,227 monthly payment to support their children. He is asking for lower payments from August through October while he recuperates.

He has not been able to find a job since his $110,000-a-year job as agriculture commissioner ended in January, Farmer said, because of his health and an ongoing investigation by the attorney general's office and other agencies about his use of state employees and resources while state farm chief.

He said he has sought employment with the public school board in his native Clay County, the Kentucky Farm Bureau and several other business people but has had no success because of the investigations.

"Obviously, with everything that has been in the media, it is not a very lucrative opportunity for me to be a spokesperson," he said.

Farmer said he is receiving $450 a month from rental property in Manchester and getting help from his parents in paying his bills.

Rebecca Ann Farmer, who works for the Franklin County school system as a teacher's aide, testified that Richie Farmer had a financial plan in place while running for lieutenant governor last year should he lose the election, but the plan never materialized.

She also said he had received "outside sources" of money.

Rebecca Farmer did not identify the plan and any outside sources of income for her former husband during her testimony and declined to comment to reporters after the hearing.

Richie Farmer ran on an unsuccessful ticket last year with Republican gubernatorial nominee David Williams, president of the Kentucky Senate.

Williams said through a spokesperson that he knows nothing of any financial plan Richie Farmer might have had.

Richie Farmer's attorney, Richard Guarnieri, noted that Farmer has made all his child-support payments through July and that the divorce agreement stipulated that he could not ask for lower child-support payments until after June 2012.

Brian Logan, attorney for Rebecca Farmer, questioned Richie Farmer about his search for a job and said Rebecca Farmer had agreed to a reduced child-support payment in the divorce settlement to avoid a custody battle in the media.

Logan, who said Richie Farmer was "voluntarily unemployed," asked Farmer whether he ever got paid for selling basketball or Kentucky Derby tickets. Farmer said he had sold tickets only to get reimbursed for his payments for them.

Asked what he has been doing during the past nine months, Farmer mentioned the investigation and taking care of his children.

He added, "I'd be tickled to death to move on with my life."

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

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