FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WHAS11) -- The Executive Branch Ethics Commission has charged former agriculture commissioner Richie Farmer with 42 ethics violations for misusing state funds and state employees during his time in office.
The charges, announced by the ethics commission on Monday, include Farmer placing his friends in jobs that had no specified duties and asking them to carry out his personal errands. He allegedly had employees chauffeur him to doctors' appointments and shopping trips as well as build a basketball court on his property.
Current Agriculture Commissioner, James Comer, issued this statement in support of the citations after the violations came down, “We have become a model of transparency We have become a model of transparency and accountability. Imagine what we might learn if every agency in state government was placed under the same magnifying glass.”
Farmer, a former shooting guard for the University of Kentucky's Wildcats basketball team, faces a $5,000 fine for each count, which amounts to $210,000. Seven employees who worked with Farmer also face ethics charges. And the commission issued an advisory opinion stating that employees must report suspected ethics violations. Many taxpayers tell WHAS11 they hope his big name does not get him off the hook if he is found guilty of the charges.
“He need to get the whole nines as a regular person. He need to get that same punishment even though he is popular. They need to make an example,” one taxpayer said.
Governor Steve Beshear declined to comment about the accusations against Farmer.
The FBI is also investigation Farmer.