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Richie Farmer: Unforgettable Or Not?

As I read the early week headlines, I looked as hard as I could at what is now being called "Farmergate". I mean, I voted for Richie Farmer in his quest to become Agriculture Commissioner, because, well, frankly, I knew nothing about the other guy. But I knew about Richie. He was a Wildcat. An "Unforgettable". Someone who stood for something when hope was supposed to be lost. One of the guys who had UK's back when we were down. I did not want to believe that when the time came for Farmer to move to Frankfort and take the next step in his political career, that I would ever see the day he would be in this position. But it seems that politics may not be well suited to the young man with a deadly 3-pt shot and the ability to run a basketball team with precision. This fall from grace has been coming over the last few years, and Richie was the only one who could have headed it off.

Now before anyone starts screaming "politics, politics" let me first say this. I said above I voted for the guy. I will also tell you that I voted against him in his last attempt at higher office as well. This article is not a political piece, but simply a chronicle of the events that lead Farmer to where he is. I make no political assumnptions, other than to comment on what I see as possible red flags for him along the way.

When Richie left UK, lo those many years ago, he went into the insurance business. I met him a few years back at a convention in Louisville for insurance agents. He was self-depreciating, polite, well versed in his subject matter, and very personable. A prime "candidate" for office, even back then. When he decided to run for Agriculture Commissioner I was not surprised one bit. Coming from ths hills of Eastern Kentucky, he had a strong base, and with his UK Alumni status, he was a shoe-in for the job. True to the circumstances, he was elected easily.

Unfortunately for Richie, that was where the easy part ends, and reality begins. If you are a "historical" figure in the history of UK, you can probably make the safe assumption that fundraising for a political campaign should not be an extremely difficult task. If you are the point guard of the "Unforgettables", your jersey hangs in the rafters of Rupp Arena, and you are more recognizable than the Governor of the state in some places, it is a given. Farmer was perfect, and he was being groomed for the highest office in the Commonwealth. As an up and coming young Republican, he was almost assured that he would be in the right place at the right time, as long as he surrounded himself with relaible people and took refuge in their counsel. But evidently, Farmer did neither.

He managed to clean up what was headed for certain disaster with the Tobacco settlement in Kentucky. Of course now, some are claiming that he was a part of the mess, but that remains to be seen. He then did something that I know he was advised against by some in the state, and decided to join David Williams in his doomed bid for Governor by signing on and becoming Williams' candidate for Lt. Governor, at a time when most of his friends and advisors felt that he should have been the Gubernatorial candidate instead of Williams.

And now we have an audit which brings to light claims of not just malfeasance, but a willful neglect of the office to which he was elected. Using actual state funds for personal gain. Rerouting state property to family and friends. Placing his mistress in a state job, and evidently using his position to try and influence people against his ex-wife concerning the matter of his mistress when he was still married. None of these thinga were admitted to by Farmer in the settlement with his wife, however, they may all be part of a very public record very soon.

This from WTVQ.com-

The audit claims Farmer had state employees take him hunting and shopping on state time, mow his yard and even chauffeur his dog. The audit said Farmer showered himself with gifts and office equipment and rewarded friends with jobs. The audit also said there was misuse of state resources and employees for personal benefit. There was an extravagant conference held on taxpayers' dime. There were also claims of questionable spending, time and travel concerns, personnel abuses and management issues. State Auditor Adam Edelen said he is going to refer the audit to four state agencies, including the Attorney General. The audit is also going to be referred to the Internal Revenue Service and the Inspector General for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now the question becomes, "What will this do to Farmer's place among the UK Royal Family? Well, that still has to be determined. But you can bet, that in today's society there will be plenty of talk, and that is what we do best here at A Sea Of Blue. So speak out, where does this leave Farmer? And as I did in the piece above, hold the political commentary. This is not about Republicans or Democrats. This is about Wildcats.



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