The Richmond Register

July 17, 2013

Former county clerk indicted on theft charge

Billy Gabbard was in office 2002-2010

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A former Madison County Clerk was indicted Wednesday for theft in connection with his duties in public office.

A Madison County grand jury indicted Billy Gabbard, who held office from 2002 to 2010, on a felony charge of theft by failure to make disposition of property, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith.

Smith did not have any further information about the case Wednesday evening. A special prosecutor from outside the Madison County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office handled the case.

Smith did confirm the charge was related to Gabbard’s work as county clerk.

Gabbard did not run for re-election in 2010, and Kenny Barger was the top vote-getter for the office.

Barger said the county clerk’s office has been working with the state attorney general since 2010 to aid in the investigation of the alleged theft.

Barger also did not give any further information about the investigation but said his office would be issuing a statement Thursday.

In Kentucky, the county clerk is responsible for issuing automobile registrations, registering voters and performing other election-related duties. The county clerk also retains written verification of certain oaths of office, stores various legal records and county records, and prepares the county tax bills.

In January 2012, State Auditor Crit Luallen released a report criticizing Gabbard’s handling of funds in the clerk’s office.

In his last year in office, the county clerk’s office ended the year with a $385,000 deficit. The Madison Fiscal Court had to settle the deficit with the state.

Luallen said reimbursement requests from the county clerk’s office were not submitted to the state on a routine basis to maintain a consistent balance. Money the office received from the state often was not deposited until months after it was received, Luallen said.

Gabbard’s office was subjected to a penalty of more than $39,000 for failure to file weekly reports in a timely manner, according to the audit.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.