Audit finds Farmer misused state resources - KCTV5

Audit finds Farmer misused state resources

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Richie Farmer during the Lt. Governor's debate on KET. Richie Farmer during the Lt. Governor's debate on KET.

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - The final report on the audit of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and its former commissioner is complete and the news is not good for the former Commissioner of Agriculture.

The special examination of the Richie Farmer administration was released Monday morning by State Auditor Adam Edelen. In the report Edelen said he found a "toxic culture of entitlement and self-dealing at Kentucky taxpayers' expense."

Edelen had decided to perform the audit in January after a request from James Comer, the new KDA commissioner. Some KDA employees had come forward with disturbing allegations of misappropriations of money and alleged general wrong-doing by the former commissioner.

Seven professional auditors poured through thousands of documents, including emails, invoices and reports from 2004 through 2011. More than 50 people were interviewed, including current and former KDA staff.  Auditors even attempted to interview Farmer, who declined.

The special examination found that in 2008 Farmer had hosted an extravagant conference for the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture. That event alone ended up costing Kentucky taxpayers an estimated $96,000.

Farmer was also found to have used state employees to perform personal work at his home as well as to drive the former commissioner on shopping and hunting trips. On one of those hunting trips, Farmer reportedly shot a deer from the state vehicle he was in, only to direct the driver to go out and bag it for him.

The report contains are numerous other accusations of misuse of state resources and employees by Farmer for his personal benefit.

The final report will be handed over to the Kentucky Attorney General along with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, IRS, Kentucky Department of Revenue and other state officials.

To see the complete audit go here to the State's Auditor's site. 

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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