Richie Farmer Allegedly Abused State Funds

Richie Farmer, the former Kentucky agriculture commissioner and University of Kentucky basketball star, was accused of misusing state funds and abusing his position in a federal indictment unsealed Monday.

Farmer faces the indictment charges that he used his state position from 2004 to 2011 to obtain thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts, hotel rooms, clothing and computers. It also alleges he hired friends who did little or no work for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

”Throughout his tenure, Farmer wrongfully used public funds and KDA resources to obtain goods and services for himself and his family,” the 13-page indictment said.

Farmer, 43, plans to plead not guilty when he is arraigned April 30, attorney J. Guthrie True said. He is charged with four federal felony counts of misappropriating state funds and one count of soliciting goods. The counts carry a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

True said he was disappointed but not surprised by the charges, which they knew was coming for several weeks. He called the federal indictment ”a dangerous precedent” saying the issues raised in it are state matters.

”The manner in which the elected commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture conducts his business is a political, not a legal, issue,” he said.

U.S. attorney Kerry Harvey declined to say if others may be indicted in the Farmer case.

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