Attorney General Andy Beshear is seeking the removal of a Gallatin County school board member who is accused of not graduating from high school and later paying expenses of a principal who backdated a diploma.
The attorney general’s office filed a complaint Friday in Gallatin Circuit Court against Chad Allen Murray for violating Kentucky law on education requirements, according to Terry Sebastian, a spokesman for Beshear.
Beshear said that in the past four years, the attorney general’s office has handled only two similar cases, one each in Bath and Knox counties. Both of those were resolved without a lawsuit, he said.
Murray could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. WKRC-TV in Cincinnati quoted him as saying, “This is a political witch hunt.”
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The law requires that a school board member has “completed at least the 12th grade or has been issued a GED certificate or has received a high school diploma through participation in the external diploma program” if elected after July 13, 1990.
Murray was elected to the Gallatin County School Board in November 2012 and was re-elected in 2016. Murray failed to submit sufficient documentation to prove that he meets the educational requirements under Kentucky law, according to the attorney general.
In a Jan. 12 letter, Murray refused to resign at the request of the attorney general’s office after being informed that his educational documents didn’t meet statutory requirements, Sebastian said. Also in that letter, Murray said the allegations were false.
“My office has thoroughly handled this matter within the guidelines of the law to ensure the school board member and the citizens of Gallatin County have had due process,” Beshear said. “We are now asking the court to remove Mr. Murray from an office he is unqualified to hold.”
In October 2016, Beshear’s office requested documentation from Murray regarding his education. In response, Murray provided a “diploma of graduation” issued by Loveland Baptist School in Loveland, Ohio, dated May 31, 1994.
According to the complaint that Beshear’s office filed Friday, Murray attended the school but didn’t complete 12th grade and didn’t receive a diploma.
Instead, Beshear’s office says, “at some point in 2011 or thereafter,” Murray contacted the principal of Loveland Baptist School requesting that she provide him with a diploma.
According to court records, Murray provided the principal with transcripts from a non-accredited, illegitimate online school and paid her “for her time and expenses.” The principal provided Murray with a diploma that she backdated May 31, 1994.
On Jan. 5, 2017, Beshear’s office notified Murray that neither the diploma nor the transcripts established that he met the educational requirements.
Under Kentucky law, the attorney general is required to prosecute actions on behalf of the state.