WKU Public Radio News Staff
Sat September 22, 2012
FBI Investigating Richie Farmer's Eight Years as Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner
The FBI has opened an investigation into Richie Farmer's tenure as agriculture commissioner. Farmer's successor, James Comer, confirmed the revelation Friday. Comer says the office of Attorney General Jack Conway informed him the FBI would be contacting current agriculture commission employees who served during Farmer's eight year stint, from 2004-2011.
Comer said he doesn't know exactly what aspects of Farmer's tenure are under investigation.
This isn't the first bad news for Farmer regarding his time in Frankfort.
The former UK basketball player came under sharp attack in a state audit that alleged numerous financial and management problems in Farmer's department, including the possible misuse of state and federal funds.
The audit documents cases of Farmer allegedly using state workers for his own benefit, including having them help build a basketball court in his backyard. That investigation also found apparent violations of state law in the hiring and promotion of merit system employees.
That audit, conducted by state Auditor Adam Edelen, is currently under review by the attorney general's office and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.
Farmer's attorney, Guthrie True, said he was unaware of any FBI investigation into his client.
The news of the FBI probe came the same day a Franklin County Judge denied Farmer's request for a reduction in his $1,227-a-month child-support payments. The judge said if Farmer was experiencing financial hardship it was because he was "voluntarily unemployed."