Former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover took out a loan of $60,000 the day after he resigned his leadership post over news that he had secretly settled an allegation of sexual harassment by a staffer.
Hoover said Saturday that $60,000 “absolutely was not” the amount he paid, but he refused to say how much he did pay to settle the claim, citing a confidentiality clause in the settlement.
A Louisville law firm hired by House Republican leaders collected several financial documents as it investigated whether Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers used public funds or campaign contributions to pay the House Republican staffer, who has since resigned from her job.
The documents included paperwork on a loan Hoover and his wife, Karyn, took out on Nov. 6 at First National Bank in Russell Springs. Hoover had stepped down as speaker on Nov. 5.
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Information on the amount of the loan was blacked out in most spots in the document, but in one section of small type that detailed the amount Hoover promised to repay, the sum of $60,040 was not redacted.
Whoever redacted the document apparently missed that reference.
The $40 was noted as a loan application fee.
The law firm’s report contained documents that showed Hoover also borrowed an undisclosed amount of money at 4 percent annual interest from an undisclosed person or entity on Oct. 27.
Hoover and his wife then took out the other loan, at 6 percent interest, to be repaid in one year.
The total amount of the settlement by Hoover and others has not been disclosed.
Three other Republican House members — Michael Meredith of Edmonson County, Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green and Brian Linder of Dry Ridge — also were involved in the settlement, as was House Republican Chief of Staff Ginger Wills, who was accused of creating a hostile work environment, according to House GOP Communications Director Daisy Olivo. She has said she saw a demand letter sent by the accuser.
Hoover resigned as speaker, but he and the other four have not quit the legislature despite repeated calls by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin for them to do so.
Hoover acknowledged that he sent inappropriate text messages to the staffer, but denied that he or the other lawmakers engaged in sexual harassment.
The law firm retained to investigate the sexual-harassment settlement said it found no evidence that the settlement was funded, in part, by political donors.
However, the firm was unable to rule that out because Hoover and the others would not share the amount of the settlement and legal fees paid because of a confidentiality provision in the settlement agreement, House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne said in a letter to the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Osborne asked the commission to investigate the case. The commission has the power to subpoena documents that could shed more light on the case.