Two former officials of the union that represents LexTran employees have acknowledged that enough evidence exists for a judge or jury to find them guilty of stealing money from the union.
Timothy Earl Burnett, 44, former president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 639, and Bobbie Kay Martin, 62, the union's former financial secretary, entered Alford pleas Friday in Fayette Circuit Court. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees there is enough evidence to be found guilty.
Burnett's Alford plea was to one count of felony theft by unlawful taking. Martin's Alford plea was to one count of misdemeanor theft by unlawful taking. The Office of the Fayette Commonwealth's Attorney, in plea deals with the two defendants, has recommended that two counts of felony theft by unlawful taking against each be dismissed.
The commonwealth's attorney office has recommended that Burnett be sentenced to a year in prison and Martin get 12 months in jail. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Andrea Williams said Monday that prosecutors were working with the union to determine how much restitution should be sought from each defendant.
The theft case began in September 2007, when Burnett and Martin were charged with four counts of felony theft by unlawful taking after union member Joe Raber told police that money had been stolen from the union and that he knew who took it. Burnett and Martin were indicted by a grand jury nearly two months later on three counts each of felony theft by unlawful taking.
Lexington police Detective Eric McCrickard testified in Fayette District Court shortly after the two were arrested that about $49,000 belonging to the union that represents most of LexTran's employees was taken illegally from union bank accounts and that the figure could change because police were waiting on records from at least three banks.
McCrickard also testified that Burnett had told other union members that he had a gambling habit. The detective said that Martin had said during a union meeting that she had supplemented her income with union money while she was off work as a LexTran bus driver because of illness.
Burnett and Martin were to have gone on trial Monday.
The two are scheduled to be sentenced by Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark on Oct. 22.