Construction firm owners to have first court date

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Associated Press

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 8:02 AM

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Magoffin County construction firm owners accused in a bid-rigging and kickback scheme with the judge-executive of Morgan County are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in federal court.

The Independent reports (http://bit.ly/1ceTZVU) the indictment accuses Morgan Judge-Executive Tim Conley of steering contracts worth $1.1 million to a company owned by Kenneth and Ruth Gambill in exchange for "gifts, payments and other things of value."

The indictment was returned earlier this month by a federal grand jury sitting in Frankfort.

Kenneth Gambill and Conley are charged with mail fraud, theft from a program receiving federal funds and conspiracy to launder money. Ruth Gambill is charged with conspiracy to launder money.

Conley was arrested Dec. 9. He was arraigned Dec. 10 and pleaded not guilty. He is free on his own recognizance.

The Gambills' Monday court appearance in Lexington will be their first. Attorneys for the two could not be reached over the weekend.

According to the indictment, Conley identified potential projects for the Gambills' construction firm and obtained funding for those projects through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He then rigged the bidding by secretly opening other bids and altering the Gambill's bid to make it the lowest, the indictment states.

Conley and the Gambills also are accused of misusing federal aid dollars after the March 2, 2012, tornado that devastated the city of West Liberty and other parts of Morgan County.

According to the indictment, the county contracted with the Gambills for debris removal, and Conley misused his position to ensure the firm was overpaid for the work.

The indictment says the bid-rigging and kickback scheme ran from early 2009 until Aug. 20 of this year.

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Information from: The Independent, http://www.dailyindependent.com

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