Politics & Government

Bevin aide asks court to enforce subpoena in probe of Beshear administration

Gov. Matt Bevin
Gov. Matt Bevin AP file photo

An aide to Gov. Matt Bevin asked a judge Thursday to force the husband of a top official in the administration of former Gov. Steve Beshear to comply with a subpoena seeking information about a nearly $3 million no-bid contract awarded to a technology company on Beshear’s last day in office.

Finance Secretary William Landrum filed a motion Thursday in Woodford Circuit Court in Versailles, asking the court to force Frank Lassiter, the husband of Beshear’s executive cabinet secretary, to comply with its subpoena.

Lassiter’s attorney, J. Guthrie True, said he will fight the state’s motion.

The state does not have the authority or jurisdiction to compel documents from people not employed by state government, True said.

“Frank has followed all the rules in this situation,” True said. “We think this is not about fact-finding by the state but is about politics. I do not intend to let Frank be used as a political pawn here.”

Bevin announced in April that he had ordered Landrum to hire investigators to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry of actions taken by Beshear administration officials. The state has since awarded a two-year, $500,000 contract to an Indianapolis law firm to conduct the investigation.

The Courier-Journal reported in February that the Beshear administration awarded the contract on Dec. 7 to SAS Institute of Cary, N.C., to extend for one year work that SAS was doing for state government analyzing data to detect fraud in billings made to Medicaid and other state programs.

Lassiter, the husband of then-Executive Cabinet Secretary Mary Lassiter, has been a consultant for SAS Institute since 2012, according to personal financial disclosure reports that his wife filed with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

Frank Lassiter told The Courier-Journal that he played no role in helping get the contract for SAS and did not make any additional fees because SAS got the contract. Mary Lassiter said she “wasn’t involved at all” with any government dealing with SAS.

Frank Lassiter resigned as executive director of the Office of Administration and Technology Services in the Cabinet for Human Services in August 2011.

SAS is a major developer and marketer of analytics software that has 13,873 employees worldwide, according to its website.

In its 31-page motion Thursday, the Finance Cabinet said it is investigating, at Bevin’s direction, the awarding of no-bid contracts to SAS Institute.

“The state has reason to believe that Lassister has documents and information relevant to the state procurement of goods and services from SAS as it relates to no-bid contracts that were issued to SAS beginning in 2012 through the last day of the Beshear administration,” the motion said.

It said the Beshear administration did not follow proper procedures for awarding such contracts.

The state is asking the court to hold a hearing on its motion Dec. 16.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics