FRANKFORT — A Franklin County home owned by former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer was sold Monday for $175,000 to the bank that holds the loan on the house.
The house was bought at a master commissioner's sale at the Franklin County Courthouse by First National Bank of Manchester, which will sell the house to pay off a loan of more than $317,000 that Farmer has not been able to repay. The sale price is less than the $250,000 appraisal. The house is on Cedar Ridge Road off U.S. 127 north of Frankfort.
James Davidson, senior lender for First National Bank of Manchester, was the sole bidder. Davidson said he could not predict how much the house would sell for in today's real estate market.
First National Bank of Manchester filed a foreclosure lawsuit in May against Farmer and his now ex-wife, Rebecca Farmer, for $317,929.22 plus interest. She filed for divorce in April 2011, and it was finalized in July. Richie Farmer agreed in the divorce settlement to be responsible for the mortgage payments. Court records indicate the mortgage has not been paid since January.
Farmer tried to sell the house before it was sold at Monday's auction.
The sale occurred three days after a Franklin Circuit Court judge ruled that Farmer could not reduce his $1,227 monthly child-support payments for his three sons. Franklin Circuit Judge Squire Williams also ruled that Farmer would not have to make the payments for September and October so he can recuperate from hip-replacement surgery that was performed Aug. 30.
Farmer, who served two terms as agriculture commissioner, has not had a job since he left office in December. Farmer told Williams during a hearing on his child-support payments that an investigation into alleged improprieties involving personnel and state property during his tenure as agriculture commissioner has hampered his ability to find a job.
The Courier-Journal reported last week that those alleged improprieties are being investigated by the FBI. The allegations of improper use of state employees and resources also are being investigated by other agencies.
A former University of Kentucky basketball standout, Farmer ran unsuccessfully last year on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor.