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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Richie Farmer Faces Grand Jury, Indictment Expected.

Attorney: Grand jury meets Friday on Richie Farmer

Richie Farmer, a Kentucky basketball icon turned politician, will be the subject of a federal grand jury probe, his attorney said Wednesday.
Farmer, a former Agriculture Commissioner, has not been called to testify before the grand jury Friday but several former agency employees were subpoenaed, attorney Guthrie True said. It's not clear what the grand jury will be looking at.

Farmer has previously been accused of ethics violations during his time at the ag department.
True said he was preparing for an indictment.
"I'm going to be real disappointed if that happens, but, given what I'm beginning to hear, I'm concerned that it's going to happen," True said.
True said Farmer acted appropriately and ethically during his eight-year stint as agriculture commissioner.
Kyle Edelen, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to comment.

Farmer's popularity as the shooting guard for a University of Kentucky team dubbed "The Unforgettables" catapulted him into elected office a decade ago. The homegrown athlete from impoverished Clay County remains one of the biggest names in one of the country's most successful college basketball programs. His jersey hangs in the rafters of Rupp Arena alongside those of Dan Issel, Pat Riley, Kenny Walker and Sam Bowie.
Farmer served two terms as ag commissioner. He lost a bid for lieutenant governor in 2011, in part because of the brewing ethics scandal.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission, a state agency that investigates ethics allegations involving government officials, charged Farmer last month with 42 ethics violations. The charges included accusations that Farmer gave jobs to friends, had state employees build a basketball court on his property and gave state-purchased laptops to his family members.

One charge alleged he spent more than $30,000 to take visiting agriculture commissioners to Churchill Downs to watch horse races. Another accused Farmer of directing government employees "to chauffeur the family dog" from Louisville to his home in Frankfort.
The charges, which are still pending, came nearly a year after a scathing state audit characterized the agriculture department under Farmer as "a toxic culture of entitlement."
If the commission finds Farmer guilty of the ethics charges, he could face fines of up to $210,000.
The ethics commission and auditor had turned over their findings to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.
Farmer is currently a car salesman in Manchester.

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