FRANKFORT — Looking for an unusual gift to give? Consider a rifle or knife from former state Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's administration.
The state announced Tuesday that it will auction dozens of high-quality collectors' items left over from a 2008 agriculture conference during Farmer's tenure as agriculture commissioner.
Farmer now is in a federal prison in Bruceton Mills, W.Va., serving a 27-month sentence for abusing public office. He entered prison last month.
Farmer, 44, pleaded guilty last September to two counts of misappropriating government resources during his administration from 2004 to 2012. He also was ordered to pay $120,500 in restitution. He admitted to hiring friends and having them do little or no work and to using state employees to build a basketball court at his home.
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The specially engraved rifles and knives were intended as gifts for agriculture commissioners and their top aides from member states of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture at a Kentucky conference in 2008. But more were ordered than needed.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will sell 13 Remington rifles and 16 Case knives in an auction May 5 at its headquarters at 1 Sportsman's Lane west of Frankfort. Proceeds from the auction will help finance an urban garden that is to be announced later this year.
"We saw this auction as a way to make something positive out of what was an unfortunate situation," current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said in a news release.
"We're pleased that we will be able to recoup some of the dollars spent on these items and put them toward an important agricultural project."
"I hope collectors around Kentucky will bid aggressively on these items, knowing that their dollars will go toward something worthwhile," Comer said. "The winning bidders can forever point to these items as their contribution toward changing the culture in Frankfort."