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UPDATE: Farmer charged with violating state ethics laws

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - We have learned of some shocking allegations against former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

On Monday, the state's Executive Branch Ethics Commission charged him with 42 ethics violations. The commission has never charged one person with this many violations before.

Seven pages of the 14-page summary are solely counts against Farmer. The report also lists counts against six of his former employees and his sister, Rhonda Monroe.

Farmer faces 42 ethics violations for misusing state funds and state employees during his time in office.

Among many other things, he's accused of placing his friends in jobs that had no specified duties and asking them to carry out his personal errands.

Farmer's charges date back to 2008, accused of several violations surrounding a conference with the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture. For that conference in particular, Farmer has been accused of having employees misuse state funds to take visiting Agriculture Commissioners' wives on shopping trips to Fayette Mall. And while buying gifts for the visiting commissioners, he allegedly kept the extras for his own personal benefit. Those gifts included firearms, alcohol, candy, and shirts.

But some people close to Farmer, including his high school basketball coach, say Farmer has been unfairly cornered.

"Well, if every department in the state was investigated as thoroughly as the agriculture department was, you could find discrepancies in every department," said Bobby Keith, Farmer's high school basketball coach in Clay County.

But the allegations don't stop there. Farmer allegedly used state employees to chauffeur him, his family, and even his dog to doctors' appointments and personal shopping and hunting trips.

Farmer has also been accused of using employees to landscape his back yard, clean his garage, and even build a basketball court at his home in Frankfort.

And on multiple occasions, Farmer has been accused of purchasing items using state funds for his own personal benefit, such as three laptops for his family and filing cabinets placed in his home that were not returned once he left office.

He even allegedly influenced a private business to give him three vehicles, two for himself and one for his father, in exchange for the promise of grant money.

And the most recent allegation that he influenced the Department to hire a woman he had an ongoing intimate relationship with, placing her under his direct supervision and allowing her to falsely claim work time over a six-week period.

If Farmer is convicted of the charges, he could face up to a 210,000 dollar fine. That's 5,000 dollars for each count.

Farmer was a shooting guard for the University of Kentucky's Wildcats basketball team from 1988 to 1992.

Farmer currently sells cars in his hometown of Manchester.


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