Morgan County Judge Executive Could Lose Job Because of Old Law

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - An eastern Kentucky judge-executive could be kicked out of office and spend at least three years in prison for allegedly violating a largely ignored and rarely prosecuted state statute.

Morgan County judge-executive Timothy Conley was charged by a special grand jury on May 21 on three counts of abuse of public trust, a Class D felony.

The grand jury alleges that Conley, a Republican, handed out over $1,400 worth of county owned drain pipe to private entities and had the county do $650 worth of repairs on a bulldozer he owned. The infractions, though relatively small, were not taken lightly by the grand jury headed by special prosecutor Brent Turner.

"Our decision to return an indictment against Judge Tim Conley was not reached lightly," the grand jury's report said. "In the end, as much as we wanted to give Judge Conley the benefit of the doubt, we simply could not ignore what we believe are clear violations of the law."

Conley may be among the first public officials in Kentucky to be prosecuted for violating the 2003 Abuse of Public Trust statute. The bill was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate at the urging of state Sen. Richard Roeding, R-Lakeside Park.

The bill was introduced in response to the actions of former Florence city finance director Ron Epling, who stole more than $4.2 million from the city over the course of 15 years. Epling was sentenced to three years in prison for theft but died in prison after serving about 10 months.

The new statute stiffened penalties against those convicted of violating the law. If Conley is found guilty, he would face three years in prison and be barred from holding public office.

The investigation headed by the Kentucky Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the attorney general's office, began last fall. The grand jury alleges that Conley gave one resident a 20-foot section of county-owned drain pipe and a Baptist Church three sections of drain pipe valued at $900. Conley also had the city pay about $650 for repairs to a bulldozer he owned that he lent out to the county.

Conley repaid the county for the repairs, but only after the investigation began, the report said.

Violations such as the ones Conley allegedly committed are all relatively common but hardly ever prosecuted in Kentucky said Patty Wallace, a member of the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

"That's one of the perks, isn't it?" Wallace said. "You give people drain pipes, pave their driveways, build their bridges and they vote for you. He wouldn't be the first one to do this and if so, he won't be the last, but if he's breaking the law, he needs to be prosecuted; they all do."

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-06-03-07 1410EDT

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by someone who knows Location: West Liberty, KY on Dec 29, 2008 at 08:27 PM
    the drain pipe wasnt used anymore and left for trash pretty much, so he gave it to the church to use as a give away, he also has let the city use his bulldozer for a LONG time, saving the city money, the could repair that thing 100 times and it would still be cheaper for the city to use his.
  • by Anonymous Location: Kentucky on Jun 5, 2007 at 08:46 AM
    The only reason anyone is going after him is because he is a Republican. The county is run by the Democratic Party. The majority of the county is registered as Democrat and Democrats usually win the county elections. Some political hopefuls in the county could not handle defeat and have had a vendetta against him since he was elected to office, and this has been public knowledge throughout the community for some time.
  • by T Location: Truth on Jun 4, 2007 at 03:58 PM
    To all of you who have defended the Judge on the basis that he was only 'trying to help the people,' you should know that the law is the law. If I approached a homeless man on the street who was dying of hunger, and had no money myself, would it be justifiable to just walk into a grocery and take what I needed to help the man without being taken to jail for theft? Think about what you are saying people. I sometimes go faster than the posted speed limit and feel that I'm harming no one, but I realize that if I am caught I will be given a ticket. What do you tell a police officer if you have broken the law? "Oh, I had good intentions and meant nothing by it." Folks, the fact remains that the law is the law. If the Democrats had one the election, all of you would have been screaming that it was a fixed election. Now that this has surfaced, you sense conspiracy. For the love of God, stop and listen to yourselves. Just because someone goes to church and proclaims to be a man of God, means nothing. Ask Jim Jones when he led a group of people to South America and convinced them that he was the messiah. Conley has a punch bowl full of Kool-Aid and it seems that he also has enough blind followers who would believe this false prophet. He is a liar. He is deceitful, and nothing short of a serpent. If you cannot see through his bulls*it, then I hope someday you'll see the light. It's just too bad the the county has to suffer because of this charlatan.
  • by Nancy Location: West Lliberty on Jun 4, 2007 at 10:07 AM
    He may need to call 1-800-Ernie. Since he is a republlican there should be no problem with the governor pardoning him. After all it wouldn't be anything new.
  • by Angie Location: Russell on Jun 4, 2007 at 07:51 AM
    Did he give the drainpipe to people who needed it? Maybe as Judge Executive he was trying to help the people in his county. I guess people aren't used to politicians actually GIVING back. I'm sure these people paid for the piping too many times already. (COUNTY TAXES) Now, you have to prosecute ALL the Judge Executives!! Happy Lynching!
  • by Shane Location: Frankfort on Jun 4, 2007 at 05:17 AM
    Giving away the drainpipe, I understand is illegal and should be prosecuted. But the repairs to the dozer? If he lent it to the county (probably because the county couldn't afford to buy a 150,000 dollar bulldozer), the least he should receive is any repairs necessary to put it back in the shape it was in before he lent it out. He should not be prosecuted for that, and that should not be illegal. What these big city politicians don't understand when they pass these laws in the legislature is that in a lot of small rural counties, they fiscal court can't afford to buy special equipment...heck they're lucky to keep what it takes to have the office open everyday. So when someone who lives in the county and has money sees how bad the county operates, he or she runs and if they win, they pitch in to make things better the best way they can. If that means loaning their own equipment that they own to get the jobs done that need to be done, then what could be wrong with that??? You don't have those type of problems in Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati wanna-bees (oops...I mean Northern Kentucky), but every other county in the state might have this problem.
  • by Greg Location: Clay City on Jun 3, 2007 at 08:35 PM
    Just another witch-hunt gone too far.We (Republicans)will be watching and reporting everything we see when the Democrats get their power back.They are just hurting themselves.


2851 Winchester Rd. Lexington, Ky 40509 859-299-0411 - switchboard 859-299-2727 - newsroom
Register for Email
RSS Feeds
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 7814432 -
Gray Television, Inc.