House Speaker Greg Stumbo failed to disclose on his mandatory ethics report that he owned a Thoroughbred racehorse, even as he pushed legislation that would legalize slot machines at Kentucky racetracks and fatten the purses for horse owners.
Last month, days after a Herald-Leader report on Stumbo's various sources of income prompted a fiery floor speech by the new speaker defending his ethics, Stumbo's office called the Legislative Ethics Commission and said he may have erred on his 2008 financial disclosure statement.
Stumbo's aides said that he and several friends had purchased a filly named Kassidy's Kiss at the September 2007 Keeneland sale. Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said he owned 20 percent of the horse.
"They called and asked me if he should report this," said John Schaaf, general counsel for the commission. "I told them yeah, that if he owned it, he ought to report it."
Stumbo sent a letter to the Ethics Commission on Jan. 21 amending his 2008 report, filed a year earlier, to include a reference to his racehorse. In his 2009 report, filed Feb. 13, Stumbo listed the horse and said he had sold his stake.
In a statement Monday, Stumbo declined to say how much money he had invested in Kassidy's Kiss, but he said the horse did not race while he was an owner. He sold his stake in recent weeks, he said.
"Owning a horse is a great way to support Kentucky's signature industry," Stumbo said in his statement.
After last month's Herald-Leader story about his income, Stumbo asked for and received an advisory opinion from the ethics commission stating that he could push legislation that would benefit his private employment, as long as others also benefited and he properly disclosed his interests.
Stumbo's slots bill, which awaits further committee action in the House, would allow the state's racetracks to offer slot machines, raising hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue for the state and the tracks themselves.
Stumbo owned the horse with former Alcohol Beverage Control Commissioner Greg Ginter, who was fined and reprimanded in 1998 by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission for obtaining free bottles of bourbon from a Frankfort distillery he regulated; Michael Eaves, who was Ginter's defense attorney; Morris Floyd, who is Eaves' law partner; and Mike Bowling, a past state representative and Stumbo's former law partner.
Eaves said Kassidy's Kiss is training to race after some medical issues that he did not fully understand. "I've never actually seen the horse. I've seen a photograph of the horse," he said.
Despite Stumbo's account of the purchase, Keeneland sales records show that the filly was listed as having not sold at the September 2007 yearling sale after a high bid of $80,000. Floyd was one of the listed consigning agents.