Gov. Matt Bevin refused Monday to say who owns the house where he and his family are living in Jefferson County.
“Who I rent from, who I buy from, where I live, the things like that that are not publicly disclosable, are frankly not anybody’s interest,” Bevin said.
He took questions from reporters after speaking at a regional prayer breakfast in Corbin Monday morning, but would not disclose who owns the company that bought the house on March 9.
The Republican governor dismissed any concern about a possible conflict of interest, saying he has filed his annual financial disclosure form with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, as required by law. However, the latest form, which Bevin recently filed, only covers his finances through the end of 2016.
The Courier-Journal of Louisville has reported that a company owned by Neil Ramsey called The Anchorage LLC sold the house and 10 acres for $1.6 million in March to a new limited-liability company called Anchorage Place LLC.
Public documents do not identify the owner of the company that bought the property, which was sold for a price well below its assessed value.
Bevin’s staff has refused to respond to questions about the house, but Ramsey told the Courier-Journal last week that the governor’s family has lived there for “probably two months.” The Courier-Journal had previously reported that the governor’s security detail was guarding the house.
Ramsey and his wife, Ann, have contributed to Bevin’s political campaigns, and Bevin appointed Neil Ramsey, an investment banker, to the board of the Kentucky Retirement Systems.
In late 2013, after restoring the house, Ramsey and his wife sold the house and a larger 19-acre parcel to Ramsey’s The Anchorage LLC for $3 million, the newspaper reported.
The recent $1.6 million sales price includes the house and 10 of the 19 acres. Last week, the Jefferson County PVA’s office said the house alone is worth $2.1 million, according to the newspaper. It said the surrounding 19 acres are worth an additional $840,000.
Ramsey told the Courier-Journal that the PVA’s listed values are too high and that the property “was sold at fair market value.”
He denied that where was a “pay to play” deal and said that “insinuating that I’m getting personal benefit ... is not fair.”
Bevin said Monday that it is sad that the media has focused attention on the house when there are far more pressing problems the state must deal with, including crippling drug-abuse that caused more than 1,300 overdose deaths in the state in 2015 and a state-employee pension system that will run out of money in a few years on the current course.
Bevin wants to reform the state’s tax code, in part to bring in more money to shore up the pension system.
He reiterated Monday that he will call a special session of the legislature this year to tackle the issue.
Bevin also has refused to release his tax returns, rejecting a bipartisan tradition of disclosure by governors and gubernatorial nominees.