Administrative Actions

expand Issuing Year: 2016
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. George Smithers
Case Number: 15-015

Allegation:Smithers admitted to three counts of violating the Code of Ethics that occurred during the course of his employment as a Facility Services Supervisor/Action Director of Residential Services, Hazelwood Center, Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Specifically, between December 2014 through March of 2015, Smithers used the facilities at Hazelwood Center for his own private photography business. Smithers held photography sessions in a vacant room of one of the buildings in the Hazelwood Center complex, setting up a photography studio with his private photography equipment and props. Smithers then posted the photographs, some of which show features of the Hazelwood building in which he took the photographs, on his business’s internet site. Moreover, between December 2014 through March of 2015, Smithers used his position and access to employees at Hazelwood Center to further his own private photography business. Smithers used his influence over employees he supervised to solicit employees to participate in private photography sessions to create modeling portfolios for the employees. Smithers would advertise his personal photography business to employees participating in the new employee orientation and other training classes that he was supervising and conducting. Finally, Smithers used the Cabinet resources, including his computer equipment, for his own private businesses by using computers and equipment to complete invoices and send emails during state time relating to his photography business, his home restoration and remodeling business, his wedding photography and entertainment business, his mobile training business, and his tax service.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Smithers agreed to pay a $3,500.00 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, agreed to abstain from seeking employment with the Executive Branch of state government for a period of five years, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order. Smithers is no longer employed by the Commonwealt

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Billie Buckley
Case Number: 16-002

Allegation:Buckley admitted to one count of violating the Code of Ethics that occurred while she served in a supervisory position with the Department of Worker’s Claims, Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Specifically, Ms. Buckley had a close, personal relationship with a subordinate employee over which she had supervisory authority. Further, upon the subordinate employee’s request, she supplied interview questions to an interviewee, who was a close, personal friend of the subordinate employee, prior to the interview for a position with the Department giving the interviewee an advantage over the other applicants for the position. Ms. Buckley then failed to recuse herself from the interview panel and participated in the selection of subordinate employee’s friend for the position with the Department. By engaging in such conduct, Ms. Buckley failed to avoid conduct that would lead the general public to conclude that she was using her official position to further her private interest.

Conclusion:In a settlement agreement approved by the Commission, Buckley agreed to pay a $1,000.00 civil penalty, receive a public reprimand, and waives any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

expand Issuing Year: 2015
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Larry Graves
Case Number: 14-015

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Case Management Specialist I for the Department for Community Based Services (“DCBS”) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (“CHFS”), Graves accepted, either directly or on behalf of the Church of the First-Born Saints, a church of which he is the pastor, treasurer, sole officer, sole board member, and self-purported owner, over $4,109.40 in donations, the use of a van, and a new roof valued at between $2,500 and $3,000, from the owner of a business that did business with CHFS through the DCBS’s Work Experience Training Program (“WEP”). Graves also used his position to cause WEP participants to perform work at the Church of the First-Born Saints. This work, primarily painting and cleaning, was performed free of charge for Graves and his church. Graves also had a client of his agency sign a “WEP Training Site Agreement” concerning his church and another DCBS client, a WEP participant, on behalf of the church as the “training site representative,” when in fact the client was not a representative of the church but rather merely a friend of Graves. Graves himself was identified on the “WEP Training Site Agreement” as the WEP participant’s immediate supervisor. Graves also accepted and processed an application for a client of DCBS when the client applied for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) benefits even though Graves did not handle SNAP benefits. The client was a personal friend of Graves. Further, in April 2012 it was discovered that this client was in fact not entitled to receive these benefits due to income he was already receiving from the Social Security Administration, which Graves failed to consider when processing his friend’s case.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Graves paid a $3,000.00 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Graves is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Kevin Booker
Case Number: 14-016

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Compliance Investigator II, in the Division of Security and Compliance, Department of Workers Claims, Labor Cabinet, Booker worked another job for a private employer in Louisville, Kentucky, while on state time. During a 16 month period, Booker worked approximately 70 hours for this private employer during hours that he presented that he was performing duties on behalf of the Labor Cabinet in locations throughout the state. Thus, in order to perform this outside employment for the private employer, Booker failed to fulfill his assigned job duties for the Labor Cabinet. Booker also falsified his timesheets he submitted to his Cabinet to show that he was performing work for the Cabinet when he was actually performing work for the private employer, resulting in Booker collecting pay for time he falsely reported on his timesheets. Booker also failed to request approval to work for this private employer. While the Labor Cabinet’s management reminded Booker of his obligation to seek approval from his appointing authority for outside employment, not only did Booker continue to fail to seek approval for the work for this private employer, he actually requested approval to perform work for a different outside private employer.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Booker agreed to pay a $3,000.00 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order. Booker is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission V. Marla Hadley
Case Number: 14-023

Allegation:That during the course of her employment as a Social Service Clinician II, Department for Aging and Independent Living, Salt River Guardianship Section, Cabinet for Health and Family Resources, Hadley used her position to gain access to funds belonging to four individuals who were adults under her supervision as part of her duties for the Department. Hadley misappropriated those funds for her own personal use and enjoyment and the use and enjoyment of others without the knowledge or approval of her Department, the victims, or their families.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Hadley paid the equivalent of a $5,000.00 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Hadley is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission vs. J. Casey Hackworth
Case Number: 15-011

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Racing License Administrator, Licensing Branch, Horse Racing Commission, Public Protection Cabinet, between July and October 2014, he used his position to take, for his own personal use and enjoyment, cash that he collected through his regular duties and to manipulate the records of his agency to conceal the amount of cash he kept for himself. Hackworth accumulated approximately $5,715.00 in cash directly from licensing fees he collected during his employment.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Hackworth will pay a $1,500.00 civil penalty, receive a public reprimand, and has waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order. Hackworth has already paid the full amount in restitution to the Public Protection Cabinet through a previous agreement. Hackworth is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Chad Hayes
Case Number: 15-008

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Correctional Officer, Department of Corrections, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, between September and October of 2013, Hayes used his position to take scrap metal owned by the Department that he hauled to various scrap yards and sold this property for his own personal financial benefit or gain. Hayes had the proceeds of the sale of the scrap metal split into checks and cash. The checks he would return to the Department. The cash he would keep for himself. Hayes collected approximately $700 in cash that he kept for himself from the sale of the Department’s scrap metal. Hayes used some of the monies he collected to buy gas for his personal vehicle, food, and other personal property. Hayes also purchased food and other items for the inmates in violation of the Department’s policies.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Hayes will pay a $1,500.00 civil penalty, receive a public reprimand, and has waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order. Hayes is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Shanion Thurman
Case Number: 15-002

Allegation:In a Final Order of Default approved by the Commission, Thurman was found to have violated the Code of Ethics during her employment as an Administrative Assistant, Department of Public Advocacy, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. In the spring of 2010, Thurman took a copy of a confidential agreement between state and federal prosecutors and a confidential informant outside of her agency. The confidential agreement detailed a deal between the prosecutors and the confidential informant for a reduced prison sentence in return for his testimony in three criminal matters involving one defendant. The copy of the confidential agreement was stored at the Department in the filing cabinet of the office of the Assistant Public Advocate for whom Thurman worked as an Administrative Assistant. Thurman then shared the confidential agreement with her boyfriend at the time. Thurman knew that her boyfriend was friendly with the defendant. Thurman’s boyfriend then shared details of the confidential agreement with the defendant in order for the defendant to share the information with the defendant’s lawyer. The confidential informant was eventually murdered. A copy of the confidential agreement was found by law enforcement in Thurman’s personal vehicle.

Conclusion:The Final Order of Default followed the issuance of a Recommended Order of Default by an impartial Hearing Officer assigned to the case subsequent to Thurman’s failure to participate in the administrative proceedings process. In the Final Order, the Commission adopted the Hearing Officer’s Recommended Order finding Thurman to be in default, publicly reprimanded Thurman for her conduct, and ordered her to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $5,000.00. Thurman has the right to appeal the Final Order in circuit court. Thurman is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Jason Driskell
Case Number: 15-003

Allegation:Driskell admitted that during the course of his employment as a Disability Adjudicator III, Department of Disability Services, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, between January 2013 and March 2014, Driskell was assigned to perform job duties in either the Department’s Frankfort or Louisville offices. On at least 116 work days, Driskell failed to arrive at either office at the time he indicated on the sign-in rosters, arriving at his work station anywhere from sixteen (16) minutes to four (4) hours late, for a total of 211 hours of time he claimed to be working that he was not at work. Driskell’s false reporting of his actual work hours on his timesheets resulted in Driskell receiving compensation in the approximate amount of $4,385.00. Driskell used his position to influence his Cabinet to compensate him for time that he did not work resulting in his receipt of financial gain and benefits in derogation of the state and the public interest. By Driskell falsely reporting his work time on his timesheets, Driskell failed to avoid conduct that would lead the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his private interest.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Driskell will pay the Commission a civil penalty of $3,000.00, offset on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the $6,000 in restitution he submits to the Cabinet, unless he misses more than two (2) installments of his $200 payments to the Cabinet, then he will owe the Commission the full amount of the civil penalty, plus twelve percent (12%) per anum, along with court costs, attorney’s fees, and administrative costs associated with collecting the judgment in circuit court until paid in full. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. James Bland
Case Number: 15-014

Allegation:Bland admitted to three counts of violations to the Code of Ethics that occurred during the course of his employment as a Transportation Engineering Technologist III, District 5, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Between November 2013 and February 2014, Bland presented to his supervisor with the Cabinet at least fifteen (15) false and altered Certificate of Service forms indicating that he had participated in jury duty when he did not actually participate in jury duty. Bland also presented at least fifteen (15) fraudulent attendance reports and timesheets indicating that he participated in jury duty when he actually spent such time on his personal interests. Bland’s false reporting of his jury duty as valid hours on his timesheets resulted in Bland receiving compensation for time that he did not actually attend jury duty or perform any service for the Commonwealth. Bland used his position to influence the Cabinet to compensate him for time that he did not work or attend jury duty resulting in his receipt of financial gain and benefits in derogation of the state and the public interest. By Bland presenting fraudulent Certificates of Service and timesheets, Bland failed to avoid conduct that would lead the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his private interest. Between June through August 2014, on at least nine (9) occasions, ranging from thirty (30) minutes to two (2) hours, Bland used the state vehicle for his own personal interests during state time at locations in Louisville and Jefferson County, which was not part of his assigned work area during that time frame and in which he had no valid purpose of remaining for those lengths of time. Bland used his position to influence the Cabinet to allow him to use the state vehicle for her personal interests and to compensate him for time that he did not work resulting in his receipt of financial gain and benefits in derogation of the state and the public interest. By Bland presenting fraudulent timesheets, Bland failed to avoid conduct that would lead the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his private interest. Finally, during 2014, Bland performed outside employment with a business that does business with the Cabinet without informing his supervisor or appointing authority and without receiving permission from the Cabinet to do so.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Bland paid a $4,000.00 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and has waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order. Bland is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission vs. Chad Buckley
Case Number: 15-007

Allegation:Buckley admitted that during the course of his employment as a Social Worker with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, on or about July 29, 2014, Buckley, who was responsible for ensuring the welfare of the children assigned to him as a Social Worker by the Cabinet, used his position to promise a parent who was under review by the Cabinet a home visit with a child assigned to Buckley in exchange for the parent selling Buckley prescription pills at a discounted rate.

Conclusion:Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Buckley agreed to pay a $1,250.00 civil penalty, receive a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Buckley is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

expand Issuing Year: 2014
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Rachel Auxier
Case Number: 14-08

Allegation:That during the course of her employment as Director, Department for Income Support, Cabinet for Health and Family Services she violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using her position to have her agency do business with a business owned and operated by her husband, to provide catering for an event being held by her Department. Auxier had her subordinate staff gather estimates from entities of her choosing, including her husband’s business, and create documentation to show that her husband’s business was the lowest estimate gathered. She also used her position to have her upper management involved in the approval process believe that her husband’s business was the lowest estimate and the only option to provide the catering for the event. Further, Auxier signed the documentation approving her husband’s business to provide catering for the event

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Auxier admitted violating the Executive Branch Code of Ethics, agreed to pay a $3000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Richie Farmer
Case Number: 13-01

Allegation:That Farmer, the former Commissioner of Agriculture, violated the Executive Branch Ethics Code by means of the following misconduct: 1) Influencing the creation of non-merit positions with no specific job duties and placing his friends in these positions, then making use of some of these state employees to perform personal errands for him during work hours; as well as influencing the placement of individuals into higher paying non-merit positions while commandeering the duties and responsibilities of lesser paying merit positions for these non-merits, then oftentimes letting the individuals in the non-merit positions fail to perform their assigned duties. 2) Using his influence to interfere with the hiring of merit employees, often in contravention to the recommendations of the appropriate staff and the interview panels, frequently influencing the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (“KDA”) to hire individuals with political or personal connections to himself without regard to the individual’s merit. 3) Enabling individual employees to claim work time without the employees actually performing work-related activities for the KDA. 4) Using KDA employees, often on state time and using state resources, to chauffeur him and his family to doctors’ appointments, personal shopping trips, and hunting trips, even once directing KDA employees to chauffeur the family dog from the Kentucky State Fair to Farmer’s home in Frankfort; and also using KDA employees, often on state time and using state resources, to perform personal work for him at his personal residence, including building a basketball court and retaining wall in his back yard, moving furniture to and from his personal residence, doing landscaping and yard work, cleaning his garage, and laying tile and building shelves. 5) Using state time and resources to have the KDA provide his extended family with hotel rooms while attending the Kentucky State Fair, and using his position to influence KDA employees to fraudulently reserve those hotel rooms in the names of KDA employees he knew would not be utilizing the rooms in order for his extended family to occupy those rooms. 6) Using his position to abuse a state contract by giving tickets to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Sweet Sixteen Basketball Tournament (“Sweet Sixteen”), which were provided to the KDA pursuant to the contract, to his extended family members. 7) Using state time and resources to have the KDA provide his extended family with hotel rooms to attend the Sweet Sixteen tournament. 8) Soliciting donations, or directing KDA staff to do so, for the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (“SASDA”) conference to be held in Kentucky in 2008 from entities that the KDA regulated or with which it had a business relationship, as well as from entities that represented groups that the KDA regulated. 9) Using his position to influence employees within the KDA to spend state funds comingled with solicited funds from outside entities for the 2008 SASDA conference to purchase excessive and lavish gifts for visiting Agriculture Commissioners and himself in derogation of the public interest and the state at large; and using his position to influence employees within the KDA to also spend those funds to take the visiting Agriculture Commissioners’ wives on shopping trips to Fayette Mall, giving them $50 gift cards as spending money, on a children’s program for only Farmer’s children in which KDA employees took Farmer’s children to a water park and other activities for the entire conference, on a trip totaling in excess of $30,000 to Millionaire’s Row at Churchill Downs for gambling on races named for the visiting Agriculture Commissioners, and on opulent meals and entertainment all in derogation of the state interest. 10) Using his position to influence employees within KDA to spend exorbitant amounts of state funds comingled with solicited funds from outside entities on gifts for the 2008 SASDA conference, forcing these employees to take desperate measures to find supplemental funds to pay for the SASDA conference in derogation of the state interest. The measures taken by these employees included charging the KDA for employee registrations to the conference for employees who did not actually attend the conference, granting money to a commodity group with the requirement that the commodity group use the majority of the grant money to pay for SASDA expenses incurred by KDA, and to continue soliciting funds for SASDA from outside groups months after the SASDA conference occurred. 11) Using his position to take personal possession of four firearms and carry cases, which were purchased with state funds and funds donated for the 2008 SASDA conference, that were meant as gifts for visiting Agriculture Commissioners either who did not ultimately attend the SASDA conference or who declined to accept the gift. 12) Directing KDA staff to use state resources and funds donated for the 2008 SASDA conference to order eight extra firearms and carry cases, in excess of the 17 firearms and cases ordered as gifts for visiting Agriculture Commissioners, then taking possession of these extra firearms for his own personal benefit. 13) Directing KDA staff to use state resources and funds donated for the 2008 SASDA conference to order approximately 35 extra Case knives, in excess of the 17 knives ordered as gifts for visiting Agriculture Commissioners, then taking possession of these extra knives for his own personal benefit. 14) Directing KDA staff to use state resources and funds donated for the 2008 SASDA conference to order approximately 33 extra cigar boxes, in excess of the 17 cigar boxes ordered as gifts for visiting Agriculture Commissioners, then taking possession of these extra cigar boxes for his own personal benefit. 15) Directing KDA staff to use state resources and funds donated for the 2008 SASDA conference to purchase excessive amounts of food, candy, alcohol, and other items over and above the amount of items necessary for the registered attendants at the SASDA conference, and, after the conference ended, directing the staff to relinquish these extra items to his spouse who took possession of these items for Farmer’s personal benefit; and doing the same for items, including alcohol, solicited from and donated directly by outside entities for the 2008 SASDA conference. 16) Using state time and resources to provide his extended family members with hotel rooms at the hotel where SASDA was held and waiving registration fees for his family members to participate in the conference. 17) Using his position to acquire, for his personal use, the hotel rewards points for a conference held by KDA that were accrued by the KDA from the rooms occupied by employees and out-of-state travelers to the conference. 18) Directing KDA staff, after the SASDA conference, to use state resources and donated funds devoted for the SASDA conference to purchase approximately 111 extra watches, in excess of the approximately 64 watches ordered as gifts for KDA employees who worked on the conference, then taking possession of these extra watches for his own personal benefit. 19) Using his position to influence a Kentucky Proud vendor, who was making wooden hats as gifts for the visiting Agriculture Commissioners attending the SASDA Conference, to make additional hats, valued at $600 each, for free for his family members and himself, as well as wooden bowls for his family members, promising the hat maker that Farmer would give the hat maker special treatment within the Gubernatorial administration in return. 20) Using his position, on two different occasions, to direct a KDA employee to use donated and purchased Kentucky Proud items to make over a dozen total gift baskets for Farmer’s personal benefit. Farmer directed the employee to relinquish these gift baskets to his former spouse. The employee was required to use state time and resources, as well as her personal funds, to make these gift baskets for Farmer. On the second occasion, the KDA submitted to Farmer an invoice for the cost of the gift baskets, which Farmer never paid to the KDA. 21) Using his position to direct a KDA employee to use a state Procurement Card (“ProCard”) to purchase a refrigerator that he gave to his former spouse to use at her workplace outside of state government. 22) Using his position on multiple occasions to direct KDA employees to use state funds to purchase in excess of 50 shirts for his own personal benefit from a KDA vendor. 23) Using his position to direct KDA employees to deliver to his home three laptop computers that had been purchased by the KDA for the use of three KDA employees. Farmer gave these computers to his family for their personal use and benefit. 24) Using his position to direct KDA employees to purchase filing cabinets in excess of $600 with locks, which were delivered to his home. These filing cabinets were never returned to the KDA after Farmer’s term in office was complete. 25) Receiving gifts such as a wooden cowboy hat with the Kentucky Proud Logo, valued at $1200-$1500, and a firearm, priced at $449, from attending the 2008 SASDA conference in Kentucky, as well as a wooden “UK” baseball cap, valued at $1200-$1500, and wooden hat stand with “32” engraving, valued at $250, from a Kentucky Proud vendor, which Farmer failed to report on Statements of Financial Disclosure filed with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. 26) Receiving complimentary tickets for various functions through his position as Commissioner, including, but not limited to, tickets to the Kentucky Oaks and Derby, the Sweet Sixteen tournament, and events held at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Farmer oftentimes sold these tickets for an amount greatly exceeding the face value of the ticket, and in the case of the Derby tickets, received in excess of $1000 for these tickets. Farmer failed to report receiving these sources of income beyond his salary as Commissioner on his Statements of Financial Disclosure filed with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission during each of his eight years in office. 27) Failing to file a timely and complete his 2011 Statement of Financial Disclosure within the time period required by statute for calendar year 2011 during which he served as the Commissioner of Agriculture. 28) Interfering with the KDA’s grant-giving process by instructing KDA employees to award the remainder of outstanding grant money to a grantee, which was a business managed by a former University of Kentucky basketball player, that was not performing according to the terms of the grant agreement. 29) Using his position to influence a private business to give him two all-terrain vehicles for his personal use and one all-terrain vehicle for his father’s personal use in exchange for the promise of grant money from the KDA. 30) Using his position to attempt to influence KDA employees to grant a for-profit business state funds in the form of grant money as compensation for three all-terrain vehicles that the business had given Farmer for his and his father’s personal use. 31) Using his position to influence his agency to use $20,000 in Kentucky Proud funds to sponsor a racing team owned by a member of his family. 32) Using his position to influence KDA management personnel to give an employee, who was a KDA inspector and an extended family member of Farmer, a vehicle without a GPS unit despite the employee’s supervisor showing Farmer evidence that this employee had tampered with his GPS unit on multiple occasions and was using the vehicle for his personal business and otherwise failing to perform his job duties. 33) Submitting to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (“the Registry”), in response to an audit being conducted by the Registry of Farmer’s campaign account for his second bid for Commissioner, copies of receipts that were not his own, but were incurred by his sister who was a current employee of the Registry, which had been used by Farmer to gain reimbursement for himself from his campaign account in derogation of the state at large. The receipts were for gas and food expenses incurred by Farmer’s sister on her personal time and not by Farmer for any campaign-related expenses. 34) Submitting to the Registry, in response to an audit being conducted by the Registry of Farmer’s campaign account for his second bid for Commissioner, a letter, that he knew had been drafted by his sister who was a current employee of the Registry, which was misleading concerning the legitimacy of his campaign reimbursements and in derogation of the state at large. 35) Influencing the KDA to hire an individual with whom he had an ongoing intimate relationship and place her under his direct supervision. This individual was placed into a position with a significantly higher salary than the previous holder of the position. Farmer allowed this individual to claim work time without the individual actually performing work-related activities for the KDA. Farmer allowed this individual to continue to falsely claim work time over a six-week interval over the objection of management within the KDA. Farmer directed management to sign timesheets for this individual even though Farmer and management had knowledge that she was not performing state work during the time claimed on her timesheets and was not present at her assigned work station for long intervals during which she claimed state time on her timesheets.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission Farmer admitted to all of the allegations contained in the Commission’s March 18, 2013, Initiating Order. The only concession in regard to these ethics charges was an agreement by the Commission to combine some of the 42 counts contained in the Initiating Order that were closely related. The end result was an admission by Farmer to 35 counts of violating the Executive Branch Code of Ethics. In addition, as part of the settlement agreement, Farmer agreed to pay a $63,000 civil penalty, agreed to cooperate with the Commission in any further investigations and proceedings, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The settlement remained contingent upon the plea agreement Farmer entered in his federal criminal proceeding being accepted by the Federal Court. That plea was accepted by the Federal Court on January 14, 2014, with Farmer being sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, with a term of supervised release of one year, and ordered to pay $120,500 in restitution to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Commission’s Final Order concluded this matter.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Kendall Williams
Case Number: 14-009

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Superintendent at the Bowling Green Group Home, Department of Juvenile Justice, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, he used his position to wrongfully acquire a $100 bill from a youth. Williams did so by transporting the youth, upon the youth’s release from the group home, to a bank in order for the youth to cash a paycheck, from which Williams took a $100 bill. Williams indicated to the youth that the $100 would be considered a “donation” to the group home, but he never created the proper paper work to designate the cash as a donation, but instead placed the $100 bill in his desk for his own use. The youth contacted Williams to request the $100 bill be returned to him; however, Williams refused and proceeded to thwart the youth’s communications with the facility. The $100 bill was never used as a donation for the facility, but rather stayed in Williams’ possession.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Williams paid a $1000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. John Akers
Case Number: 14-005

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as the supervisor of the Facilities Maintenance Branch woodshop, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Akers admitted he violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using his position to use the Department’s woodshop facilities to store his personal property, including, but not limited to, tools, duck decoys, boats, building materials, personal hunting equipment, and a motorcycle; using his position to use the Department’s woodshop facilities and equipment to build and repair his personal items, including but not limited to building a flat bottom boat and a wine cabinet and repairing his personal deer stand and lawn mowing equipment; using his position to possess seized antlers that were sent to the Department’s woodshop to be destroyed, and using these antlers to build turkey calls, coat racks, furniture, and various items using the Department’s facilities and equipment, some of which he kept for his personal use; and using his position to use the Department’s facilities, employees, and equipment to perform personal work for other Department employees, including the Department’s commissioner.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Akers agreed to pay a $3500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Ronald Brooks
Case Number: 14-011

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as the Director, Fisheries Division, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Brooks violated the Code of Ethics by using his position, at the request of then Commissioner Jonathan Gassett, to instruct a Department employee to acquire a gallon of the controlled chemical Rotenone, that was originally purchased by the Department through a Department contract, from the Department’s stores for Gassett’s personal use. The Rotenone Gassett used could only be purchased by a certified individual. The Department did not have a law or regulation that allowed the Department to sell or provide Rotenone to the public. Gassett did not maintain the appropriate certification to purchase or use Rotenone at the time; nevertheless, Brooks ensured that Gassett received the Rotenone from the Department’s supplies.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, approved by the Commission, Brooks agreed to pay a $900 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Benjamin Kinman
Case Number: 14-004

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Kinman violated the Code of Ethics by using his position to instruct Department employees, who were working on state time and using Department equipment and vehicles, to pump out the flooded basement or crawl space of then Commissioner Jonathan Gassett’s personal residence. Kinman also admitted that he violated the Code of Ethics by using his position to have a Department employee, working on state time and using a Department vehicle, deliver fish from the Department’s fish hatchery to a private pond located on the personal property of a member of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission, outside of the provisions of any statute or regulation and were unavailable to members of the general public; and by using his position, at the request of a member of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission, to deliver fish from the Department’s fish hatchery to a private pond on the personal property of a friend of the Commission member. Kinman delivered the fish himself in the fall of 2012 and instructed Department employees, working on state time and using a Department vehicle, to make the fish delivery in the spring of 2013. The fish were provided to the friend of the Commission member outside of the provisions of any statute or regulation and were unavailable to members of the general public.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, approved by the Commission, Kinman agreed to pay a $2,999 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Thomas Burling
Case Number: 13-013

Allegation:That while serving as a Highway Superintendent II with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Burling was found to have violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using his position to gain access to property owned by the Cabinet and property owned by a Cabinet contractor for the purposes of hauling that property to a scrap yard and selling this property for his own personal financial benefit or gain. The property included corrugated metal pipe, rebar, metal pipes, aluminum cans, tires, double-mesh wire, scrap metal, road sign poles, SuperNails, steel sheets, chain-link fence, and a metal hose reel. Burling was also violated the Code of Ethics by using his position to misuse his Cabinet-issued ProCard to purchase items for his own personal use or that he otherwise kept for himself for personal gain or benefit. These items included floor mats and an orbital sander and accessories. Burling entered false information into the Cabinet’s ProCard system to cover up his activities. He further violated the Code of Ethics by using an open Cabinet charge account to purchase items for his own personal use, and took cleaning supplies and toilet paper from the facility for his personal use and enjoyment as well. Burling was further found to have violated the Code of Ethics by misusing inmates, whom he was charged with supervising, by having these inmates perform unauthorized work on private property for activities not related to work for the Cabinet, but for his own private enterprise. Burling gave these inmates the proceeds from the sale of Cabinet scrap metal that they had collected and he sold. He also falsified his timesheets and failed to carry out assignments as directed by his supervisors, and directed a subordinate to falsify his timesheets. Burling also used state time, state-owned vehicles, and Department equipment for his personal use both during and after working hours. Additionally, Burling violated the Code of Ethics by falsifying his application for employment for a promotion to Highway Superintendent II by stating that he had not been previously convicted of a felony offense, when in fact he had.

Conclusion:The Final Order followed the issuance of a Recommended Order of Default by an impartial hearing officer assigned to the case, subsequent to Burling’s failure to participate in the administrative proceeding process. In the Final Order, the Commission adopted the hearing officer’s Recommended Order finding Burling to be in default, publicly reprimanded Burling for his conduct, and ordered him to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $35,000. Burling has the right to appeal the Final Order in Circuit Court. He is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Gerald Buynack
Case Number: 14-013

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as the Assistant Director, Fisheries Division, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Buynack violated the Code of Ethics by using his position, at the request of a former Department employee, to influence Department employees, working on state time and using a Department vehicle, to deliver fish from the Department’s fish hatchery to a private pond located on the personal property of the former Department employee. The fish were provided to the former Department employee without having to complete an application, at no charge for the fish or the cost of delivery, outside of the provisions of any statute or regulation, and would not have been made available to members of the general public.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, approved by the Commission, Buynak agreed to pay a $900 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Michelle Jones
Case Number: 14-019

Allegation:That during the course of her employment as the Family Services Office Supervisor, Department for Community Based Services for the Two Rivers Service Region, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, she violated the Code of Ethics by using her position to represent her agency in negotiating transactions to have her agency do business with a business owned and operated by her husband to provide promotional products for events held by her Department for a program that she coordinated as part of her regular job duties. Jones also admitted that she violated the Code of Ethics by using her position to ensure that her agency did business with a a business owned and operated by her husband and for which she was listed as a manager on the business's Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State's office. Jones Also violated the outside employment provision of the Code of Ethics by being the "manager" for her husband's business without the approval of her appointing authority while she was a full-time employee of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Jones agreed to pay a $3,250 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Steven Mobley
Case Number: 13-06

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as the Director of Agriculture Marketing and Agribusiness Recruitment in the Department of Agriculture during the Richie Farmer administration, Mobley violated the Code of Ethics by failing to report receiving any gifts in excess of $200 dollars on his 2008 Statement of Financial Disclosure filed with the Ethics Commission when he had in fact received a gift in the form of a wooden hat valued at approximately $600 from a Kentucky Proud vendor. Additionally, while not admitting that his conduct violated the Code of Ethics but recognizing that the evidence against him indicated he had, for the purposes of settlement Mobley agreed not to contest charges that he violated the Code of Ethics by reporting time on his brother William E. Mobley’s time sheets which enabled his brother to collect pay for time he did not work and to receive compensation while failing to fulfill his assigned job duties; and that he violated the Code of Ethics by reporting that his brother used his personal vehicle to travel for the Department, which allowed his brother to collect reimbursement for mileage for travel that he did not actually incur in the performance of duties for the Department.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, approved by the Commission, Mobley paid a $2500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Mobley is no longer employed by the Executive Branch of the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Mary C. Callahan
Case Number: 13-011

Allegation:Callahan was found to have violated the Code of Ethics following her employment as an officer in the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet, Department of Parks, by failing to file a completed Statement of Financial Disclosure for the portion of calendar year 2012 during which she was employed by the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet.

Conclusion:The Final Order followed the issuance of a Recommended Order of Default by an impartial hearing officer assigned to the case, subsequent to Callahan’s failure to participate in the administrative proceeding process. In the Final Order, the Commission adopted the hearing officer’s Recommended Order finding Callahan to be in default, publicly reprimanded Callahan for her conduct, and ordered her to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000. Callahan has the right to appeal the Final Order in Circuit Court. She is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Brian Wright
Case Number: 14-021

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Maintenance Superintendent at Green River Youth Development Center, Department of Juvenile Justice, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Wright admitted violating the Code of Ethics by using a facility credit card to purchase various items that he then took to his home for his personal use. The total value of the items Wright took to his home for his personal use was over $350. On at least one of the receipts for the credit card purchases, Wright placed his subordinate’s signature without the subordinate’s permission. Wright then submitted the deceptive receipt to the facility.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, approved by the Commission, Wright agreed to pay a $2500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Wright is no longer employed by the Commonwealth.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Lonnie Culver
Case Number: 14-022

Allegation:Culver admitted that the evidence shows that during the course of his employment as the Deputy Adjutant General, Kentucky National Guard, Department of Military Affairs, while also serving as the Commander of the 38th Infantry Division of the Indiana National Guard, he violated the Code of Ethics by using a Kentucky National Guard helicopter, to which he had access and use of for his duties as the Kentucky Deputy Adjutant General, to fly from Louisville, Kentucky, to inactive duty training in Indianapolis, Indiana, with a return flight to Louisville on the same day. National Guard policy requires soldiers to travel to inactive duty training at their own expense. Furthermore, on several occasions Culver also violated the Code of Ethics by using a Kentucky National Guard vehicle, to which he had access and use of for his duties as the Kentucky Deputy Adjutant General, to drive from Louisville, Kentucky, to inactive duty training with the 38th Infantry Division of the Indiana National Guard in Indianapolis, Indiana, despite National Guard policy that soldiers must travel to inactive duty training at their own expense.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, approved by the Commission, Culver agreed to pay a $2000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

expand Issuing Year: 2013
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Bruce Harper
Case Number: 13-02

Allegation:While employed as the Director of Outreach and Development, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Harper used his official position to solicit donations for the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture ("SASDA") conference to be held in Kentucky in 2008 from entities that Agriculture regulated, did business with, or represented groups that Agriculture regulated, that he interfered with the enforcement and penalty procedures of the Office of the State Veterinarian by instructing Agriculture employees to probate a $200 fine to zero for a farmer who had violated the dead animal disposal laws; and that he attempted to interfere with the enforcement and penalty procedures of the Division of Regulation and Inspection, Grain Regulation Branch, on behalf of a grain dealer that was a political contributor. Specifically Harper instructed an Agriculture employee to hold a $3,000 penalty check submitted by a grain dealer, even though the grain dealer had already entered into an Agreed Order of Settlement to pay a fine of $3,000 for violating Kentucky's grain law. Harper instructed the employee not to deposit the check, the normal course of business upon receiving a penalty check, but to hold the check until he could come to the Grain Regulation Branch offices and take possession of the check, with the intention of circumventing the check's deposit.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Harper agreed to pay a $4,500 Civil Penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. George "Doug" Begley
Case Number: 13-04

Allegation:While employed as an Agricultural Inspector I, Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Begley violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by claiming work time on his timesheets for time spent allegedly performing amusement ride inspections while consistently failing to perform these inspections, thereby collecting pay for time he falsely reported on his timesheets; by using his assigned state vehicle on days that he did not claim work time and did not perform any work-related activities for Agriculture, thereby abusing a state resource that was assigned to him for his own personal benefit; by using his assigned state vehicle while on state time to perform activities relating to his private logging business, thereby abusing state time and resources that were assigned to him; and by attempting to use his official position as a means to avoid a citation from the Department of Forestry for logging activities being conducted by his private business over which he was fraudulently acting as the onsite Master Logger, while on state time and using his assigned state vehicle.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Begley agreed to pay a $6,500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Donald Nolan
Case Number: 13-009

Allegation:That while employed as a Transportation Engineering Technologist III in District 11, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Nolan violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by consistently leaving assigned job sites early and failing to perform or complete surveys while nevertheless claiming work time on his timesheets for time spent allegedly performing those surveys, thereby collecting pay for time he falsely reported on his timesheets and failing to fulfill his assigned job duties while receiving compensation; by claiming overtime on every timesheet submitted during the period reviewed even though he consistently left early from his assigned job sites, thereby collecting compensatory hours for time he falsely reported on his timesheets and failing to fulfill his assigned job duties; and by conducting surveying activities through his private enterprise at locations of construction sites that were not Transportation Cabinet work sites while using a state vehicle.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Nolan agreed ot pay a $3,000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing an Agreed Final Order.

expand Issuing Year: 2012
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Robert Habig
Case Number: 11-010

Allegation:That an employee with the Department of Parks, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d), as well as KRS 11A.045(1) by using his official position to obtain financial gain for others, to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for others in derogation of the public interest at large, and by accepting gifts totaling a value greater than $25 in a single calendar year from a person or business that does business with or attempting to influence the actions of the agency in which he is employed or which he supervises. Specifically Habig, the business manager at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, along with his family, used a pontoon boat and a ski boat owned by State Dock Marina Ventures, LLC (“State Dock”) without paying a rental fee. State Dock has a lease agreement with the Department of Parks to lease the Lake Cumberland marina. The actual rental rate for the pontoon boat from State Dock is approximately $119 to $299, depending on the season, the size of the pontoon boat, and the length of the rental time; the rental fee for a ski boat from State Dock is approximately $329 to $529 depending on the size of the boat and the season.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement the employee admitted violating KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d), as well as KRS 11A.045(1) as alleged, agreed to pay a $500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Bradley Lowe
Case Number: 11-012

Allegation:That an employee with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (d) by using or attempting to use his influence in matters that involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest and by using his official position to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for others in derogation of the public interest at large. Specifically, Lowe used his official position as a conservation officer by brandishing his conservation officer badge and using his status as a law enforcement officer to falsely claim that he was involved in an official undercover investigation to secure entry for his fifteen year old daughter into an Alcoholic Beverage Control regulated establishment for patrons 21 years of age and older. He continued to brandish his badge to order drinks for his daughter while in the Lexington establishment.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement the employee admitted violating KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (d) as alleged, agreed to pay a $2,500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Vicky Reynolds
Case Number: 08-018

Allegation:That the Hart County Property Valuation Administrator ("PVA") violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) by using her official position to obtain financial gain for a member of her family. Specifically the Hart County PVA violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using her official position as PVA to hire her mother to work for her in the Hart County PVA office, thereby giving her mother the financial gain employment provides

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the Hart County PVA agreed to pay a $2,000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. (REDACTED 08-017)
Case Number: 08-017

Allegation:That the (REDACTED) County Property Valuation Administrator ("PVA") violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) by using her official position or office to obtain financial gain for a member of her family. Specifically the (REDACTED) County PVA violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using her official position as PVA to promote her son to a higher paid position within the (REDACTED) County PVA office, thereby giving her son the financial gain that came with this advancement.

Conclusion:The Final Order followed a full evidentiary hearing and the issuance of a Recommended Order by an impartial hearing officer assigned to the case. In the Final Order, the Commission adopted the hearing officer's Recommended Order, ordering (REDACTED) to cease and desist any further violation of KRS 11A.020(1)(c) in hiring or promotion actions and pay no penalty. (REDACTED) has appealed the Final Order in Franklin Circuit Court. The Franklin Circuit Court reversed the Final Order of the Commission. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Franklin Circuit Court Order. The Supreme Court denied discretionary review.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. (REDACTED 08-020)
Case Number: 08-020

Allegation:That (REDACTED), (REDACTED) County Property Valuation Administrator violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) by using his official position or office to obtain financial gain for a member of his family. Specifically, (REDACTED), who still serves as (REDACTED) County PVA, violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by hiring his daughter on several occasions to work for him in the (REDACTED)County PVA office, thereby giving his daughter the financial gain employment provides.

Conclusion:In a Final Order issued by the Commission, (REDACTED), while serving as the Property Valuation Administrator of (REDACTED) County, was found to have violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) by using his official position or office to obtain financial gain for a member of his family. The Final Order followed a full evidentiary hearing and the issuance of a Recommended Order by an impartial hearing officer assigned to the case. In the Final Order the Commission adopted the hearing officer's Recommended Order, ordering (REDACTED) to henceforth obey KRS 11A.020(1)(c) in hiring or promotion actions; to post a copy of KRS 11A.020 prominently in a public place in his office; and to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $4,000. (REDACTED) has appealed the Final Order in Franklin Circuit Court. The Franklin Circuit Court reversed the Final Order of the Commission. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Franklin Circuit Court Order. The Supreme Court denied discretionary review.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. (REDACTED 08-023)
Case Number: 08-023

Allegation:That while serving as the Property Valuation Administrator of (REDACTED) County Shields violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) by using her official position or office to obtain financial gain for a member of her family. Specifically, (REDACTED), who still serves as the (REDACTED) County PVA, violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using her position as PVA to hire her husband to work for her in the (REDACTED) County PVA office as her Chief Deputy, thereby giving her husband the financial gain employment provides.

Conclusion:The Final Order followed a full evidentiary hearing and the issuance of a Recommended Order by an impartial hearing officer assigned to the case. In the Final Order, the Commission adopted the hearing officer’s Recommended Order, ordering (REDACTED) to henceforth obey KRS 11A.020(1)(c) in hiring or promotion actions; to post a copy of KRS 11A.020 prominently in a public place in her office as a reminder of the law; and to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $4000. (REDACTED)has appealed the Final Order in Franklin Circuit Court. The Franklin Circuit Court reversed the Final Order of the Commission. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Franklin Circuit Court Order. The Supreme Court denied discretionary review.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Michael Cooper
Case Number: 12-005

Allegation:That while employed as the Commissioner of the Department of Tourism, in the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet, Cooper violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using his official position or office to obtain financial gain for himself or members of his family and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself or others in derogation of the public interest at large. Specifically Cooper travelled to London, England, without notice to or prior approval of his agency, and participated in events organized by GOSH PR, an entity with which his Cabinet maintained an ongoing contract. During his London visit, GOSH PR paid for meals, taxi cabs and other activities for Cooper. After he returned from the trip, Cooper informed his agency that the trip to London was for personal reasons; however, he later approved an invoice submitted by GOSH PR for reimbursement by his agency of the expenses incurred by GOSH PR on Cooper’s behalf. In addition, during Cooper’s tenure as Commissioner, he generally failed to follow personnel rules for reporting travel expenses, charged personal items to a state-issued credit card without informing his agency, conducted personal business while on approved state travel, booked more expensive flights in order to combine business and pleasure travel, and showed an overall failure to keep the documentation necessary for reimbursement for business travel.

Conclusion:In the Settlement Agreement, Cooper admitted that his conduct violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics, agreed to pay a $2000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Cooper is no longer employed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Betty Atkinson
Case Number: 08-022

Allegation:That the Powell County Property Valuation Administrator ("PVA") violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) by using her official position or office to obtain financial gain for a member of her family. Specifically Atkinson, who no longer serves as the Powell County PVA, violated the Executive Branch Code of Ethics by using her official position as PVA to hire her daughter to work for her in the Powell County PVA office, ultimately promoting her to be her Chief Deputy, thereby giving her daughter the financial gain employment provides.

Conclusion:In a Final Order issued by the Ethics Commission, Atkinson, was found to have violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c). The Final Order followed a full evidentiary hearing and the issuance of a Recommended Order by an impartial hearing officer assigned to the case. In the Final Order, the Commission adopted the hearing officer’s Recommended Order, ordering Atkinson to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $2000. Atkinson is no longer employed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Billie Johnson
Case Number: 12-001

Allegation:That the Assistant Director with the Division of Highway Safety Programs, Department of Transportation, violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) and KRS 11A.045 by using her official position to obtain financial gain for others; to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for others in derogation of the public interest at large; and by knowingly accepting gifts totaling a value greater than twenty-five dollars ($25) in a single calendar year from an entity that does business with the agency in which the public servant is employed. Specifically, during June of 2009, Johnson acquired and gave credentials to six friends, acquaintances, and family members to a race that the Dvision of Highway Safety Programs was sponsoring at the Kentucky Motor Speedway held on July 18, 2009. The credentials were received during the course of her employment and gave her friends and family members access to areas of the Kentucky Motor Speedway to which the general public could not gain access. Neither Johnson nor her friends and family members paid any amount for the credentials. The actual cost of a general admission ticket to the race was $20 per ticket but the credentials have no face value because the general public does not have access to or the opportunity to buy the credentials, therefore the value is indeterminate.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, the employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) and KRS 11A.045 as alleged, agreed to pay a $750 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Schyler Olt
Case Number: 12-007

Allegation:That the former General Counsel with the Kentucky Retirement Systems violated KRS 11A.050(1), (2), and (3) by failing to properly file the Statement of Financial Disclosure with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Specifically, Olt, as an "officer" as defined in KRS 11A.010(7), failed to file a completed 2011 Statement of Financial Disclosure within the time period required by statute for the portion of calendar year 2011 during which he was employed by the Kentucky Retirement Systems as a General Counsel.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Olt admitted to violating 11A.050(1), (2), and (3), agreed to pay a $100 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and wavied any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Olt also filed the required Statement of Financial Disclosure.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Dennis Sharon
Case Number: 12-003

Allegation:That a Conservation Officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (b), (c) and (d), KRS 11A.020(2), KRS 11A.020(3), and KRS 11A.040(1) by using his influence in a matter that involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest; influencing a public agency in derogation of the state at large; using his official position to give himself a financial gain and an advantage in derogation of the public interest at large; using his official position to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself in derogation of the public interest; failing to avoid all conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest, failing to abstain from an official decision in which he had or may have had a personal or private interest, and knowingly using confidential information acquired in the course of his official duties in order to further his own economic interests. Specifically, in April of 2007, Sharon participated in the multi-state law enforcement operation called “Skid Roe” concerning the commercial fishing of paddlefish in restricted waters, during which Sharon was assigned the task of serving a warrant. On or about April 23, 2007, Sharon served a warrant on the Albert Collins residence and seized cash and property related to Mr. Collins’ commercial paddlefish fishing operation. On or about October 15, 2008, Sharon received a Resident Roe Bearing Harvester’s Permit and Resident Commercial Fishing License from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. As documented on his Daily Roe Bearing Fish Harvester’s Transaction Report, from approximately November 10, 2008, through February 22, 2010, Sharon reported participating in commercial fishing activities in which he sold approximately 464 pounds of paddlefish roe to Albert Collins. In January of 2008, Sharon met with Steve Kinder, a commercial fisherman, at the boat ramp in Carrolton, Kentucky, at the confluence of the Kentucky River and the Ohio River. Kinder and Sharon discussed Kinder’s desire to fish the area during the following fishing season. Kinder asked Sharon to provide him with the exact measurements of the restricted area, pursuant to 301 KAR 1:155, Section 3(2)(b). On or about April 25, 2008, at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers, Kinder observed two commercial fishermen already in the spot. The fishermen told Kinder that Dennis Sharon directed them to fish in the area in question. In November of 2008, at the start of the commercial fishing season, Kinder discovered Sharon conducting commercial fishing activities in the same location in which Kinder told Sharon he was planning to begin fishing. Sharon used information gained during his official duties while speaking with Steve Kinder in confidence about the benefits of commercial fishing in waters at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers to benefit other fishermen and himself to further his own economic interests. On or about April 13 and November 18 of 2009 and January 14, March 5, April 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 of 2010, Dennis Sharon and his designated helper Kenneth Burns were observed conducting commercial fishing activities on the Ohio River within 50 yards of the mouth of the Kentucky River, in violation of 301 KAR 1:155, Section 3(2)(b), despite attesting on his Resident Roe Bearing Harvester’s Permit applications that the requirements of 301 KAR 1:155 are binding upon him and anyone he designated as a helper. By attesting on his application before the Department that he would follow 301 KAR 1:155 and failing to follow or enforce the requirements of that regulation, Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest. Such activities provided Sharon with the financial gain and benefit of fishing a restricted area that was not otherwise accessible by other commercial fishermen. Further, Sharon used his influence as a conservation officer to protect the activities of his designated helper, Kenneth Burns, allowing Burns the benefit and financial gain of fishing in waters that were otherwise restricted from other commercial fishermen. Sharon conducted these illegal activities despite his requirement as a law enforcement officer to uphold the law and his requirement as a conservation officer to enforce fish and wildlife laws and regulations. Sharon was able to conduct these illegal activities in a prolonged and open manner because he was known in the community as a law enforcement officer and used his influence as a conservation officer over the community and his Department to protect his activities as a commercial fisherman in restricted waters, which was a matter that involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest. On or about March 5, 2010, conservation officers from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) seized gill nets found in restricted waters at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers in Carrollton, Kentucky, equipped with expired 2009 commercial fishing tags belonging to Dennis Sharon. That same day, at a meeting in Boone County, Kentucky, Indiana DNR Conservation Officers Lt. Tony Stoll and Maj. Felix Hensley confronted Dennis Sharon in front of his commanding officers, Sgt. Greg Davis and Capt. Bobby Newman. Sharon proceeded to inform the officers that he had obtained a valid 2010 Commercial Fishing License, but refused to show it to the officers. Sharon did not apply for a 2010 Commercial Fishing license until March 8, 2010. Further, when asked by the officers whether he had any other nets set in the waters of the Ohio River in addition to the nets the officers seized at the mouth of the Kentucky River, Sharon answered in the negative. However, Indiana DNR officers later seized a net with expired 2009 commercial fishing tags that belonged to Dennis Sharon within fifty (50) yards of the mouth of the Little Kentucky River. Sharon was charged criminally for these offenses in Switzerland County, Indiana on March 2, 2012. Furthermore, Sharon reported on his Monthly Report of Commercial Fish Harvest in Kentucky for the month of March 2010 that he did not have commercial gill nets in any waters in Kentucky from March 1st through the 27th. However, the Indiana Officers seized gill nets belonging to Sharon placed in the Kentucky and Little Kentucky Rivers on March 5, 2010. Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest when he lied to the Indiana and Kentucky officers about having a valid commercial license and more nets in the water. Such activities were also an attempt by Sharon to use his influence on the Kentucky and Indiana officers to protect his financial gain and benefit from fishing a restricted area that was not otherwise accessible by other commercial fishermen, which was a matter that involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest. On or about April 6, 2010, Dennis Sharon was informed by his commanding officer, Sgt. Greg Davis, of the measurement of the restricted areas around the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers and was provided a map including the coordinates of the restricted fishing areas. Later that day, Sharon was observed measuring and moving his commercial fishing nets, leaving his nets within the restricted zone. Again on or about April 7, 2010, Sharon was observed measuring and moving his commercial fishing nets, leaving his nets in restricted waters. This conduct shows how Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest. Such activities were also an attempt by Sharon to use his influence as a Kentucky conservation officer to protect his financial gain and benefit from fishing a restricted area that was not otherwise accessible by other commercial fishermen, which was a matter that involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest. On or about April 7, 2010, conservation officers from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) stopped Dennis Sharon for commercially fishing in restricted waters and seized gill nets as well as over 12 lbs of paddlefish roe found in restricted waters at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers in Carrollton, Kentucky. During this encounter, Indiana DNR Conservation Officers Sgt. John Cannarella, Corp. Steve Kinne, and Corey Norrod confronted Dennis Sharon about his commercial fishing in restricted waters. Sharon proceeded to inform the officers that he had been given permission by his commanding officers to fish in the restricted area and that he would have his agency defend him in court. Sharon was charged criminally for this conduct in Switzerland County, Indiana on March 2, 2012. Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest. Such activities were also an attempt by Sharon to use his influence on Indiana officers to protect his financial gain and benefit from fishing a restricted area that was not otherwise accessible by other commercial fishermen, which was a matter that involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest. On or about March 22, 2011, Dennis Sharon, without permission or the knowledge of his supervisors, while in uniform and driving his commissioned vehicle, left his assigned county of Gallatin in District 5 and travelled to Oldham County in District 3, to meet with Oldham County Attorney, John Carter, to influence the prosecution of David Cottrell, a commercial fisherman. On March 22, 2011, Sharon was working on state time and claimed 7.5 of regular hours on his official timesheet. Based on a citation brought by Indiana DNR Officers Steve Kinne and Corey Norrod, David Cottrell was charged with failure to maintain the required number of commercial fishing tags on his gill nets placed in the Ohio River. David Cottrell and Sharon both sell fish roe to Jessica Schigur, the Fish Roe Buyer whom Dennis Sharon has sold fish roe to from approximately November 20, 2010, to the present. Sharon told Mr. Carter that the offenses for which Mr. Cottrell had been charged were not offenses that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources was interested in prosecuting. By attempting to influence the prosecution of David Cottrell, Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest in commercial fishing by helping out another commercial fisherman related to his fish roe buyer. Such activities were also an attempt by Sharon to represent the interests of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in a way that would also protect his and other commercial fishermen’s financial gain and benefit him by influencing the enforcement of commercial fishing laws and regulations to suit his private interests. Finally, Sharon was attempting to influence a matter that involved the same Indiana DNR officers who charged him with commercial fishing law violations, which is a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest. On or about April 17, 2011, Dennis Sharon told Barrett Brewer, the conservation officer assigned to Oldham County, to not get involved with the prosecution of David Cottrell in Oldham County for the commercial fishing violation from March 2011. Sharon told Officer Brewer that that he, Dennis Sharon, was handling the matter and that Officer Brewer need not get involved. Sharon told Brewer that the case against David Cottrell should not be prosecuted. By attempting to influence Officer Brewer to not get involved with the prosecution of David Cottrell, Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest in commercial fishing by helping out another commercial fisherman related to his fish roe buyer. Such activities were also an attempt by Sharon to influence Officer Brewer and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources in a way that would also protect his and another commercial fisherman’s financial gain and benefit him by influencing the enforcement of commercial fishing laws and regulations to suit his private interests. Finally, Sharon was attempting to influence a matter that involved the same Indiana DNR officers who charged him with commercial fishing law violations, which is a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest. On or about October 21, 2008, Sharon applied for a commercial fishing license and Roe Bearing Harvesters Permit with the Department. Sharon’s supervisors instructed him that he was not to participate in official duties or enforcement activities in the counties in which he conducted commercial fishing and to avoid commercial fishing activities in his assigned county of Gallatin County, which was consistent with the Department’s policy. From November 2008 through April 2010, Sharon was observed on multiple occasions by the public and law enforcement officers participating in commercial fishing activities in Carroll County, Kentucky. From October 2008 through present, Sharon has issued approximately 24 citations in Carroll County, Kentucky, approximately 7 of which involve fishing related violations. By participating in commercial fishing activities in Carroll County and issuing citations in Carroll County, Sharon failed to avoid conduct which might in any way lead members of the general public to conclude that he was using his official position to further his professional or private interest and failed to abstain from an official decision in which he had or may have had a personal or private interest. On or about April 2, 2011, while in uniform and in his commissioned vehicle, Sharon confronted two commercial fishermen at Point Park in Carrolton, Kentucky, for placing nets too closely to his commercial fishing nets located at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers and threatened to write them citations for the conduct and confiscate their nets so that they could not fish in the location any longer.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement approved by the Commission, Sharon agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The Commission concluded the matter by issuing a Final Order. Sharon is no longer employed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

expand Issuing Year: 2011
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Charles Geveden, Jr.
Case Number: 11-004

Allegation:That during his course of employment as Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety in the Department of Highways, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Charles Geveden, Jr.: 1) Violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (d) and KRS 11A.045(1) by using his influence in a matter involving a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest and his duties in the public interest; and using his official position to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself in derogation of the public interest at large. Specifically, Geveden improperly used his official position to obtain pit passes and parking passes for himself and other individuals to three NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2010 by soliciting them through an official of the Kentucky Speedway, an entity doing business with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. 2) Violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using his official position to obtain financial gain for himself; and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself in derogation of the public interest at large by causing his agency to pay for lodging for himself and others for a personal trip to attend a NASCAR race at Bristol, Tennessee. Specifically, on March 20, 2010, the night before the NASCAR race at Bristol, Tennessee, Geveden and three personal guests stayed in a two bedroom cottage at Pine Mountain State Park. The next morning, prior to traveling on to Bristol for the NASCAR race, Geveden did stop at the Cumberland Gap Tunnel Operations Center for a brief prearranged official visit. However, at the time Geveden reserved the cottage at Pine Mountain State Resort Park, there was no apparent business purpose for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to pay for the lodging and, further, Geveden did not report any work time for March 20, 2010 through March 21, 2010.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (c) and (d), and KRS 11A.045(1), as alleged, agreed to pay a $4,000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Joby L. Gossett
Case Number: 10-003

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a conservation officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Joby L. Gossett: 1) Violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (d) by using or attempting to use his influence and official position to obtain three sets of antlers (caribou, red stag, and fallow deer) from private citizens for the personal benefit of himself or his wife. His actions in this matter involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest in the antlers and his duties in the public interest relating thereto, and were in derogation of the public interest at large. 2) Violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (d) by using his influence and official position to attempt to pressure a private citizen in regard to a 34 point deer rack the individual had found, first by trying to obtain the rack directly from the private citizen for himself, then by trying to convince the private citizen to take the rack to a specific taxidermist, a business regulated by the agency for which Gossett worked. Gossett’s actions in this matter involved a substantial conflict between his personal or private interest in the rack and his duties in the public interest relating thereto, and his endorsement of the taxidermist in question was an attempt to secure or create an advantage for himself or that regulated business in derogation of the public interest at large.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, Gossett admitted that he violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (d), as alleged, agreed to pay a $1,250 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Tim Hibbard
Case Number: 11-006

Allegation:That during his course of employment with the Department of Parks in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Timothy Hibbard violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using his official position to obtain financial gain for others and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for others in derogation of the public interest at large. Specifically, Hibbard provided exceptionally discounted rates to General Butler State Resort Park Lodge to his family members and friends on five separate occasions during 2009 and 2010 that resulted in total lost revenue for the Lodge of $698.55. Such discounted rates were not allowed by any existing policies of the Lodge, the Department of Parks, or the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, Hibbard admitted that he violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) as alleged, agreed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission vs. Patrick Yates
Case Number: 11-001

Allegation:That during his course of employment with the Department of Highways, Transportation Cabinet, Patrick Yates violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using his official position to obtain financial gain for himself and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself in derogation of the public interest at large by means of misappropriating public funds. Specifically, Yates used a state credit card to obtain fuel for non-state owned vehicles at a total cost of $758.10, for which he received half of the cost of the fuel in cash from the operators of the vehicles.

Conclusion:In a Final Order the Commission adopted the Recommended Order of Default Judgment issued by the hearing officer assigned to the case, finding that Yates violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) as charged, and ordered that Yates receive a public reprimand and pay a $5,000 penalty.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission vs. Eddie Moore
Case Number: 11-009

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Resort Park Manager, III Lake Cumberland State Resort Park with the Department of Parks, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Moore violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) as well as KRS 11A.045(1) by using his official position to obtain financial gain for himself and others in derogation of the public interest at large, and by accepting gifts totaling a value greater than twenty-five dollars ($25) in a single calendar year from a person or business that does business with or is attempting to influence the actions of the agency in which he is employed or which he supervises. Specifically Moore rented a 7 bedroom houseboat on two occasions for the use of himself and his family and friends for a substantially reduced rate from a private company holding the lease agreement with the Department of Parks to lease the Lake Cumberlland Marina. Further on at least three occasions, Moore, along with his family, used a ski boat owned by the same private company without paying a rental fee.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, Moore admitted he violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) as well as KRS 11A.045(1) and agreed to pay a $1,500 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission vs. John T. "Tom" Boone
Case Number: 11-008

Allegation:That during the course of his employment as a Plumbing Inspector Reviewer with the Division of Plumbing, Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction, Public Protection Cabinet, Boone violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using his official position to obtain free classroom space on at least 35 separate days for the purpose of teaching plumbing code classes in his private capacity, used copies of materials developed by his Division as course materials for teaching the Kentucky State Plumbing Code in his private capacity, and used his official position to obtain the free use of a copier to make copies of the course materials obtained from his Division for students in his private class. He further violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by teaching plumbing code courses on multiple occasions despite being told by his supervisor that employees of his Division were not to teach plumbing code classes on their own because all plumbing code classes were to be taught by the Division through a participating college. After suggesting that students attending his privately-provided classes make a $350 to $375 “donation” per student to him, the employee collected approximately $13,000 in “donations” for teaching his plumbing code classes between December 15, 2008 and October 15, 2010. The employee also violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) by conducting a plumbing inspection in his official capacity for a company from which he had received $3,850 in “donations” for conducting plumbing code classes in his private capacity for its employees. The employee also conducted plumbing inspections in his official capacity for another company whose employees had paid him for conducting plumbing code classes in his private capacity.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement the employee admitted violating KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (c), and (d), agreed to pay a $5000 civil penalty, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

expand Issuing Year: 2010
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Cathy Miller
Case Number: 09-003

Allegation:That a former employee of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using her official position to give herself a financial gain; and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for herself in derogation of the public interest at large by using state time and equipment in selling and distributing illegal copies of movies for financial gain.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.020(1)(d) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $100, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal. The parties agreed that there was insufficient evidence that the former employee violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c).

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Crystal Murray Ducker
Case Number: 10-002

Allegation:That a former Deputy Secretary for the Transportation Cabinet violated KRS 11A.040 (7) by: accepting employment, compensation, or other economic benefit from a company that does business with the state in a matter in which she was directly involved during the last thirty-six (36) months of her tenure.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the former employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.040(7) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $500, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Melissa Sachs
Case Number: 09-004

Allegation:That a former employee of the Finance and Administration Cabinet failed to file a completed 2008 Statement of Financial Disclosure within the time period required by statute for the portion of calendar year 2008 during which she was employed, in violation of KRS 11A.050(1), (3)(f) and (l).

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the former employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.050(1), (3)(f) and (l) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $100, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Sharon Harris
Case Number: 10-005

Allegation:That an employee, during her course of employment as a Nurse Administrator in the Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, violated KRS 11A.045(1) by living rent free in a residence owned by a corporation regulated by the Office of Inspector General, Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Conclusion:The Commission adopted the recommended order of default issued by the hearing officer, finding that the former employee violated KRS 11A.045(1) as charged, imposing a fine of $1,500 and imposing a public reprimand.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. William Huffman
Case Number: 03-103

Allegation:That an employee, during his course of employment as a Staff Attorney for the Division of Worker’s Compensation Funds, in the Labor Cabinet, violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to obtain financial gain for himself, and to give himself an advantage in derogation of the public interest by claiming sick leave from his employer while working on cases in his private legal practice; and violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to obtain financial gain for himself and to give himself an advantage in derogation of the public interest by misusing state owned equipment while working on cases in his private legal practice.

Conclusion:The Commission adopted the recommended order of the hearing officer, finding that the former employee violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) as charged, and imposing a fine of $2,500 and imposing a public reprimand. The former employee unsuccessfully appealed the final order of the Commission to the Franklin Circuit Court, the Court of Appeals, and requested discretionary review by the Supreme Court. The final order of the Commission was upheld at all levels of appeal.

expand Issuing Year: 2009
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. David Toborowsky
Case Number: 08-028

Allegation:That a former Special Assistant for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services violated KRS 11A.050(1) by failing to timely file a 2007 Statement of Financial Disclosure within the time period required by statute.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the former employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.050(1) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $100, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Amy Hall
Case Number: 08-025

Allegation:That a former employee in the Kentucky Department of Parks violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using her official position to obtain financial gain for herself; and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for herself or others in derogation of the public interest at large by misappropriating public funds.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the former employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.020(1)(c)and (d) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $500, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Betty Whitaker
Case Number: 09-001

Allegation:That a former Mine Safety Analyst I in the Department of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Cabinet, violated KRS 11A.020(1)(b), (c), and (d) by falsifying mine reports and failing to fulfill her job duties over a one year period while receiving compensation.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.020(1)(b), (c), and (d) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $1,500, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Danny Druen
Case Number: 06-110

Allegation:That a former employee of the Transportation Cabinet violated KRS 11A.020(1)(b) and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a public agency and to give advantages to certain individuals in derogation of the public interest at large by facilitating the systematic pre-selection or approval of individuals, based on private political interests rather than qualifications, and directing that they be placed in merit system positions or promoted with disregard to personnel statutes or regulations governing the merit system hiring procedures; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) by placing private political interests above his duties as an employee of the Commonwealth of Kentucky when he facilitated the hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, or transfer of individuals based on political considerations rather than qualifications; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (b), and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a public agency by drafting and maintaining a “hit list” comprised of both classified (merit) system employees of the Transportation Cabinet and unclassified (non-merit) employees of the Transportation Cabinet, for the purpose of identifying these employees for adverse personnel actions (terminations, reversions, reassignments, and involuntary transfers) based in large part on their political affiliation or opinion; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (b) by using or attempting to use his official position to facilitate the involuntary transfer and demotion of a state classified (merit) system employee of the Transportation Cabinet, without cause, based on political affiliation or opinion; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (b), and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a public agency in the appointment of a state classified (merit) system position in the Transportation Cabinet and give her an advantage over other more qualified individuals based solely on her political connections and support of the current administration rather than her qualifications; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (b), and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a public agency in the appointment of an individual based on his family relationship to a close supporter of the political agenda of the current administration, rather than his qualifications, to a state classified (merit) system position in the Transportation Cabinet; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (b), and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a public agency in the appointment of an individual based on his family relationship to a high ranking state official, rather than his qualifications, to a state classified (merit) system position in the Transportation Cabinet created for this purpose; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) and (b) by using or attempting to use his official position by participating in the involuntary dismissal of a state classified (merit) system employee of the Transportation Cabinet, based on the employee’s political affiliation or opinion; violated KRS 11A.020(1)(d) by using or attempting to use his official position to access official documents in order to alter them so that they might not be used as evidence against him or others in legal proceedings; and violated KRS 11A.020(1)(d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a state classified (merit) system employee of the Transportation Cabinet, to alter or falsify her future testimony in official proceedings so that her testimony might not be used as evidence against him or others.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, while stating that he was not aware or did not know that his actions were in violation of KRS Chapter 11A, the employee agreed that the factual allegations as set forth in the Commission’s Initiating Order, if proven true at a hearing, could result in a determination of multiple violations of KRS 11A.020(1)(a), (b) and (d) as stated in the Commission’s Initiating Order. The employee agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $2,500, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Paul Blanton
Case Number: 08-012

Allegation:That a former employee of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet violated KRS 11A.040(7) and (9) by accepting employment, compensation, or other economic benefit from a private company that does business with the state in a matter in which he was directly involved during the last 36 months of his tenure, within six months following the termination of his employment; and by representing the company within one year of the termination of his state employment before a state agency in a matter in which he was directly involved during the last 36 months of his tenure.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.040(7) and (9) as alleged, agreed to pay a civil fine in the amount of $1,000, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Todd Alfrey
Case Number: 08-011

Allegation:That a former employee of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to give himself a financial gain and an advantage by having a hotel charge the agency by which he was employed for his hotel stay while he was on approved leave.

Conclusion:Upon receipt of additional information, the Commission dismissed the charge.

expand Issuing Year: 2008
Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Bert David Cox
Case Number: 07-105

Allegation:That an employee of the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors, violated KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) by using his official position to obtain financial gain for himself and to secure or create privileges, exemptions, advantages, or treatment for himself in derogation of the public interest at large by regularly receiving payment from his agency for hours worked per day, when in fact he habitually worked fewer hours per day, or at times did not come to work at all.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the former employee admitted to violating KRS 11A.020(1)(c) and (d) as alleged, received a public reprimand, and waived any right to appeal.

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Marc Williams
Case Number: 07-103

Allegation:That a former Commissioner of Highways in the Transportation Cabinet violated KRS 11A.020(1)(b) and (d) by using or attempting to use his influence and/or official position in directing the State Highway Engineer to use or attempt to use his influence and/or official position to influence Consultant Selection Committee members for the benefit of a certain outside consulting firm during an open selection process relating to a Transportation Cabinet project.

Conclusion:The Commission adopted the recommendation of the hearing officer that there was not clear and convincing evidence that the former Commissioner of Highways violated KRS 11A.020(1)(b) and (d).

Executive Branch Ethics Commission v. Robert Wilson
Case Number: 07-109

Allegation:That a former Director in the Commerce Cabinet, and former Deputy Secretary, Personnel Cabinet, violated KRS 11A.020(1)(b) and (d) by using or attempting to use his official position to influence a public agency and to give advantages to certain individuals in derogation of the public interest at large by directing personnel of various agencies to hire merit system applicants based on private political interests rather than qualifications or agency personnel preference with disregard to personnel statutes and regulations governing the merit system hiring procedures; and violated KRS 11A.020(1)(a) by placing private political interests above his duties as an employee of the Commonwealth of Kentucky when, as the effective co-director of the “personnel initiative,” he aided and abetted the hiring, appointment, promotion, demotion, or transfer of individuals based on political considerations rather than qualifications.

Conclusion:In a Settlement Agreement, the former employee admitted that the factual allegations against him, if proven true at a hearing, could result in a determination of a violation of KRS 11A.020(1) (a), (b), and (d); agreed to receive a public reprimand; and waived any right to appeal.