Former Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture, UK fan favorite and basketball great Richie Farmer had a rough Monday. The results from a state audit conducted by the Department of Agriculture were released and it cast Richie in a not so flattering light. The report revealed what it called “a toxic culture of entitlement and self dealing at Kentucky taxpayers expense.” Some of the things the report allege:
- A culture within the agency that provided a hostile work environment that punished employees for trying to do the right thing.
- State employees on State time took Richie hunting, shopping, built a basketball court in his backyard, mowed his lawn, and chauffeured the family dog from Louisville to a family home.
- A state employee drove Richie hunting where he illegally shot a deer from a state vehicle. He then directed the employee to field dress the deer for him.
- Hosted “an extravagant conference” for less than 200 people that cost Kentucky taxpayers $96,000. Farmer ordered 13 rifles, rifle cases, knives, cigar boxes, shopping mall gift cards and watches for the conference. He took most of the items home after the conference.
- Using a Department of Agriculture worker to reserve hotel rooms near the state fair in the names of two employees that did not use the rooms. The rooms were used by Farmer’s family members and cost taxpayers $4,257.
- Misappropriation of $43,000 of state funds away from a ginseng program to purchase animal enforcement vehicles.
- The Department of Agriculture purchased two 60 inch tv’s and wall mounts. One was installed in a conference room and the other in Farmer’s office.
- Farmer paid a former employee and friend more than $70,000 for work that was not performed.
- Farmer paid his ex-wife’s cousin state money and provided use of a state vehicle. This person did not work for the state.
- Spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel, dinners, drinks and cigars.
This is just a few of the findings of the 187 page report. The audit has been sent to the Kentucky Attorney General, Executive Branch Ethics Commission, IRS, Kentucky Department of Revenue, Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Personnel Board. Criminal prosecution has not been ruled out.
Link to the full report