Farmer hired girlfriend, paid $5,000 monthly

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - In the closing days of the 2011 gubernatorial campaign, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer hired his girlfriend as a "special assistant" in his department, paying her $5,000 a month.

Farmer, who lost a bit for lieutenant governor earlier this month, hired Stephanie L. Sandmann as a non-merit employee in the Department of Agriculture with a start date of Oct. 31, according to the state Personnel Cabinet.

Farmer's running mate, State Senate President David Williams, told The Courier-Journal that Sandmann is Farmer's girlfriend, but he had no idea she joined the state payroll eight days before the Nov. 8 election (

Department spokesman Bill Clary said Farmer, who is going through a divorce, declined to be interviewed. Sandmann didn't return a call to the paper Thursday afternoon.

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