The Richmond Register

Local News

January 14, 2014

Farmer sentenced to 27 months

FRANKFORT — Telling him he betrayed the public trust and there “should be serious consequences for a serious crime,” U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove sentenced former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer to 27 months in prison Tuesday.

Farmer, 44, pleaded guilty to two counts of misappropriating public funds by hiring family and friends who did little or no work and for converting public funds to his personal use after a plea agreement was worked out by his attorney Guthrie True and federal prosecutors.

That agreement called for a sentence of between 21 and 27 months and restitution by Farmer of $120,500 in exchange for dismissal of two similar counts in the indictment. Farmer potentially could have faced 10 years on each of the four charges.

True asked Van Tatenhove to choose the lower end of the sentencing range, saying Farmer suffered such a long fall that it “is in some ways punishment enough.”

“I guess the higher you climb in life the risk is the farther you fall when you make a mistake,” he said.

He said given Farmer’s notoriety and subsequent disgrace, 21 months represented both sufficient punishment for Farmer and a strong message to other public officials.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor said the plea agreement was fair and he, too, noted that Farmer suffered a very public fall “from a very high mountain” and suffered a great loss of reputation.

“There is also a real benefit to society at large to hear the defendant say ‘I’m guilty, I did it and I’m not going to appeal,’” Taylor said. “It satisfies the public that this prosecution was just.”

Additionally, Taylor said, “A very long trial would’ve been very costly to both sides.”

True also asked the judge to consider Farmer’s three sons, none of whom were present for the sentencing.

“Although it’s Richie’s fault,” True said, his sons will suffer. “They are the collateral damage.”

He said every mistake made by one of the three during Farmer’s time in prison will be “Richie’s fault for not being there,” but the judge could reduce the time he’s not there by six months by choosing to sentence Farmer to 21 months rather than 27.

Farmer — a high school basketball legend who went on to play for the University of Kentucky and was a member of the UK team dubbed “the Unforgettables” — also addressed the court, with his parents, brother and sister looking on. His voice momentarily breaking, Farmer said he was sorry for the “mistakes and poor judgments” he made while commissioner of agriculture and apologized to the people of Kentucky “who have been so good to me.”

He said he has suffered through the ordeal of the investigation and media reports, “but most of all, I’ve had to watch what my family’s been through, and most of all my kids. I can never make it up to them but I want to say I’m sorry.”

Van Tatenhove spoke at length about the difficulty of his decision, saying the sentence was more about public trust and holding people accountable than about Farmer himself.

“Betraying the public trust is really serious, and there must be serious consequences for a serious crime to deter others,” Van Tatenhove told Farmer.

But the judge also told Farmer that his athletic accomplishments as a member of a beloved UK basketball team and the hanging of Farmer’s UK jersey in Rupp Arena should not be tarnished because of his subsequent mistakes as agriculture commissioner.

“Yet you owe a debt to society and you need to pay that debt,” Van Tatenhove said. “Once you’ve paid that debt, then you are debt free and you can hold your head high.”

He said he realizes others may “hold this over your head for the rest of your life but that’s not right.”

Van Tatenhove then sentenced Farmer to 27 months in federal prison with a year of supervised release. Farmer must also pay restitution of $120,500, the figure contained in the plea agreement.

Van Tatenhove allowed Farmer to self-report to prison and set the report date as March 18. He said he will recommend to federal prison officials that Farmer be allowed to serve his sentence at the facility in his hometown of Manchester.

Afterward, Farmer spoke briefly with reporters.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” he said. “But I certainly want to say to the people of the state how sorry that I am and how much they’ve meant to me and to thank them for all their understanding. You know, you make bad decisions and poor judgments and you own up to those mistakes and move on and that’s what I hope the people of the state are willing to do.”

Farmer also faces sentencing Friday in Franklin Circuit Court on a state charge that he caused his campaign funds to be expended for an improper purpose, stemming from allegations he submitted false expense reports to his campaign fund.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 2-11 Mangan.jpeg Man indicted in I-75 wreck that killed two

    A man who police believe started the chain of events that led to the deaths of two people on Interstate 75 in February was indicted on several felony charges Wednesday in Madison Circuit Court.
    Bryan M. Mangan, 56, of South Bend, Ind., was indicted on six counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and operating on a suspended license.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Man charged with reselling employer’s equipment

    A man who worked for a local satellite TV company has been charged with ordering extra equipment and selling it online.
    Charles William Hensley, 39, of Manchester, worked for the Multiband Corporation at its Richmond office, according to a Richmond police report.
    Multiband maintains DIRECTV’s installations, service and upgrades for single-family homes in 20 states and commercial sites nationwide.

    April 24, 2014

  • Saturday is National Drug Take-Back Day

    A nationwide initiative to dispose of prescription drugs in a safe manner will take place Saturday.
    Three Madison County sites are available for residents to get rid of their unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs as part of the eighth annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day:
    • Richmond Police Department, 1721 Lexington Road, box is outside by the front door.
    • Kentucky State Police Post 7, 699 Eastern Bypass, across from the EKU stadium, box is inside at the front door.

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-25 Revue 1.JPG Retro Radio Revue

    “Stan O’Donnell’s Retro Radio Revue,” presented by Rose Barn Theatre, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Gillum’s Sports Lounge in the Richmond Mall.
    The production focuses on the performers of the show and the follies and chaos that take place as the unexpected ensues. Local musical performers from Madison County will be showcased throughout the production.
    Gillum’s will provide a full menu service and cash bar beginning at 5:30 p.m.
    Tickets for the show are $15 and available at the door or in advance at www.rosebarntheatre.org.
    The event is a fundraiser for the nonprofit arts organization.

    April 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • 4-25 Crit Luallen.jpg Luallen says no to 2015 governor’s race

    After months of deliberation, former state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen announced Thursday she will sit out the 2015 race for governor.
    The announcement disappointed friends and associates who see Luallen as an able and experienced administrator — she served in six gubernatorial administrations — but also someone with the character and integrity to restore confidence in government.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blue Grass Army Depot sponsors 5K

    The Blue Grass Army Depot is hosting a 5K run/walk Saturday in support of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
    The no-entry-fee event will begin and end at the depot’s new sports complex ball fields, according to a news release from the installation. Preregistration is available online at www.bluegrass.army.mil or starting at 9 a.m. the day of the event.

    April 24, 2014

  • 4-24 UKatWaco1.jpg Wildcats encourage Cardinals to work hard in school

    University of Kentucky student athletes Kastine Evans, a guard on the women’s basketball team, and Jon Hood, a guard on the men’s team, stopped by Waco Elementary School on Wednesday to talk about the benefits of working hard in school.

    April 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • Mayor, commissioner pay changed

    The Richmond City Commission approved 4-1 a new pay scale for the mayor and commissioners at a special-called meeting Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-24 Lorenzo McWilliams.jpg Harrodsburg to get old Richmond police mobile computers

    Richmond is donating to the city of Harrodsburg eight of 39 old computers formerly used in police cruisers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-24 HOSAblooddrive.jpg Health science students organize blood drive

    Aside from the gift cards and free snacks, 50 Madison County high school students have other reasons for donating 35 pints of blood Wednesday to the Kentucky Blood Center at Madison Central High School.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results