The administrative arm of Kentucky’s courts system filed a motion Thursday to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit detailing multiple allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement within the Administrative Office of the Courts.
In a 16-page response to the 19-page lawsuit, lawyers for the AOC denied wrongdoing and said the lawsuit should be dismissed in part because Scott Brown, a former AOC manager, doesn’t fit the description of a whistleblower under Kentucky law.
Brown was on administrative leave due to Attorney General Andy Beshear’s investigation into irregularities in surplus vehicle sales when he filed his whistleblower lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court. The AOC’s response says that Brown, who was deputy director of administrative services, was fired from his position July 1.
Brown’s lawsuit, filed in June, alleged three areas of wrongdoing: financial irregularities in payments to court-appointed attorneys in a Northern Kentucky county; the use of a certain heating and cooling company to perform millions of dollars worth of unauthorized maintenance at courthouses statewide; and improper use of state funding allocated to supreme court justices, including a decision to lease office space for a Supreme Court judge from a member of the judge’s family and using travel expenses to rent a condominium in Frankfort.
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Brown also alleged that he was placed on leave (and eventually fired) as retaliation for providing information about wrongdoing in the AOC to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The AOC denied all alleged wrongdoing and took issue with several details in Brown’s original complaint, including the allegation that he was fired for providing information to the FBI.
“All decisions concerning the plaintiff were based on ordinary business judgment of the defendant and not on any discriminatory, retaliatory or otherwise illegal motive,” the response said.
Brown’s attorneys were unfazed by the response.
“I think the answer is a fairly standard denial,” said Thomas Clay, the co-counsel for Brown. “We’re looking forward to getting into the discovery phase of the litigation.”
In June, the AOC asked state Auditor Mike Harmon to review the agency’s financial operations.