LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - 8-21-13
The Cumberland Valley Regional Board of Ethics issued a reprimand to Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird.
The reprimand is from an ethics hearing held last month.
The letters says the sheriff did not follow proper ethical standards when he purchased a department vehicle from an employee's husband in 2011. They also wrote, "this board is not satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that your actions involved actual misuse of funds."
The reprimand does not include any other penalties in the case.
Sheriff Lipfird told us he is glad the case is over and is moving forward.
"I didn't know at the time it was a violation. Once I realized it was a violation, naturally I'm not going to do it again. It simply is what it is," Sheriff Lipfird said.
Officials wrote in the letter, "It is hoped that this letter of reprimand will lead you to be more circumspect in all future such transactions."
Harlan County Sheriff Marvin J. Lipfird claims he did nothing wrong when the department bought a vehicle from an employee's husband.
The Ethics Board at the Cumberland Valley Area Development District (CVADD) in London held an ethics hearing Tuesday on the matter.
The Ethics Board called the Harlan County Sheriff to testify about why he used the department's drug fund to purchase a vehicle from an employee's husband.
A state auditor testified in 2011, Sheriff Lipfird bought a 2004 Ford Explorer for $7,500 from the now former office manager's husband. He has a body shop in the county.
"At the time, I had no clue it was a possible violation. I do now," said Sheriff Lipfird to WYMT after the hearing.
Sheriff Lipfird said the vehicle was for undercover drug detectives. The three member panel of the Ethics Board asked why he did not buy the vehicle from a local dealership. Sheriff Lipfird testified he did not want to buy a car from a dealership and risk the public knowing what vehicle undercover officers drove.
"If anything, this was a technical violation. My position is there's no harm that the Harlan County citizens got good work and good value for the money," said David Hoskins, attorney for Sheriff Lipfird.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop and County Attorney Fred Busroe were summoned to be at the hearing. Judge-Executive Grieshop told the Ethics Board he was complying with the state audit recommendation with the complaint. He also said the entire Fiscal Court signed the complaint. Busroe did not testify and said the audit was enough to submit.
Judge-Executive Grieshop and County Attorney Busroe did not want to comment after the hearing.
"It was a fair hearing. There was no shenanigans. I really like that. It was matter of fact. Points, they were made. Facts were facts," said Sheriff Lipfird about the hearing.
The three member panel will now determine if the vehicle purchase was an ethics violation.
The Ethics Board did not give any indication of how long it will take to make a decision and issue a ruling.