FRANKFORT — Former state Rep. Bill McBee, a Boone County Democrat who was among 22 defendants charged or convicted in a corruption investigation of the Kentucky General Assembly in the 1990s dubbed Operation BOPTROT, died Tuesday. He was 78.
Linneman Funeral Homes in Burlington said Tuesday night that arrangements are pending.
McBee pleaded guilty in 1994 to extortion and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
He took $30,000 from Dueling Grounds Racecourse and conspired to extort $30,000 from Riverside Downs in exchange for promises of assistance. He had served as chairman of the House Business
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Organizations and Professions Committee.
He originally was sentenced to 15 months in prison but served five, winning a reduced sentence because he cooperated with federal prosecutors.
McBee spent 18 years in the House and was chairman of a committee that handled horse-racing legislation. He became a lobbyist after losing a re-election bid in 1990.
During the investigation that rocked Frankfort, court testimony revealed that McBee, a lobbyist representing a racetrack, presented $500 in cash to House Speaker Don Blandford, who later was convicted.
"Bless your heart," Blandford said when presented with the bribe. The exchange was videotaped and audiotaped by the FBI.