A state ethics panel has filed two additional charges of misconduct against Pike Circuit Judge Steven D. Combs, who has been suspended while awaiting a hearing.
The new charges allege that Combs presided over a number of cases involving EQT Production Co. but failed to properly disclose that he has a financial relationship with the company.
The state Judicial Conduct Commission listed 17 cases involving EQT that Combs allegedly handled without putting his financial involvement with the natural gas company on the record.
The concern in such a case would be that the judge had a potential conflict of interest unknown to the litigants.
The commission also charged that at a hearing in June, Combs testified that he had properly disclosed his financial tie to EQT, but that a review of court documents and recordings did not confirm such disclosures.
The commission, which handles ethics complaints against judges, released the additional charges Tuesday.
Attorneys for Combs said in a response that he denied handling any cases without making known his financial relationship with EQT.
The disclosures Combs made went beyond what the state Supreme Court requires, according to his response.
Combs's attorneys also said his interest in Buffalo Development, which has leases with EQT, is well known among attorneys who practice before him, and that Combs had listed it on public financial-disclosure reports.
Combs also denied making false statements at the June hearing.
There are now a total of 13 ethics charges against Combs, a former mayor and city commission member in Pikeville who has been a circuit judge since 2003.
A hearing on the charges is scheduled for Sept. 21.
The commission has the power to impose sanctions on Combs ranging from a reprimand to removal from office.
The disciplinary panel has removed only four state judges from office since 1984.
The commission released the first 10 charges against Combs in May, then suspended him with pay in June.
After filing the additional charges this month, the commission also ordered him not to use his office at the judicial center in Pikeville and to turn in his pass to get into the building.
The other charges against Combs include that he took part in improper political activities; threatened and made derogatory comments about local officials, calling one "Dumbo" and another "Fishface;" and made inappropriate calls to local police.
In one case, Combs allegedly told a police captain that the next officer who pulled him over would get a "bullet in the head."
The commission accused Combs of violating several rules, including a requirement to maintain high standards of conduct and uphold the integrity of his office; to act in a way that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the court; and to not handle a proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
In his responses, Combs denied wrongdoing.
Combs said he did not make the remark about shooting a police officer.
He argued that his calls to police, local officials and others covered in the charges were not harassing or inappropriate, and that he had a free-speech right to make the calls.
Combs' attorneys said the charges violate his rights and the Kentucky Constitution, and they asked that the charges be dismissed.