A Bad Year for Kentucky Corruption
Though the perpetrators of these colossal messes are to be thoroughly condemned and institutionalized in the Big House when so judged, an even more colossal dysfunction/dishonesty has been exposed regarding the various boards that are supposed to set policy, salaries, perks, establish oversight, and generally keep everything straight. In every instance, the boards, if not actually complicit in the raids on the treasury, have been so derelict in discharging their responsibilities that they might as well not have existed. They could be collectively charged with malfeasance.
The Airport Board, as a group, apparently had no idea that four officials were robbing the airport blind. Ditto regarding officials supposedly governed by the boards of the Lexington Library, the Kentucky League of Cities, and the Kentucky Association of Counties, all either wholly or partly supported by taxpayer dollars! Part of the reason for this sad circumstance lies in the fact that board members are appointed on the basis of cronyism, not on the basis of merit. They “meet and eat” and do little else, placing complete control in the hands of the staff, a mistake that even a third-grader simply watching playground activity would recognize.
The airport officials, all already fired, have been indicted and pled non-guilty, although they’ve already hanged themselves in a way since they’ve assayed to pay back some – not nearly enough – of what they stole. The head honcho in the Library dustup has been fired but happily escaped worse, as has been the head of the KAco. He and a board member have also informally pleaded guilty by “paying back” for some services provided by the ladies of the night, but those amounts are miniscule by comparison to the $3 million cited by the paper and State Auditor Crit Luallen as excessive, extravagant, outrageous and distasteful.
Sylvia Lovely, head honcho of the KLC finally saw the handwriting on the wall in August and called it quits but not until the end of the year, during which time she will continue to draw her salary of nearly $27,600 per month, more than a lot of family breadwinners make in a year. If asked a while back of some of the members of the KLC board what her salary was, they would have answered, “well, duh.” The mayor of Lexington didn’t even know, and he was on the executive board...but he SHOULD have known.
Coincidentally, Lovely’s husband, Bernard Lovely, was the chairman of the airport board when all the peccadilloes took place there so the obvious question has to do with whether or not he was in on the skullduggery. He also was part owner of a restaurant in which the KLC ran up more than $20,000 in dining tabs, compliments of wife Sylvia, one supposes. This husband-wife team represents the quintessential gaming of the system – greed personified, and the devil take the hindmost.
Luallen indicated that no matter the stink mounted in the KAco, there was nothing illegal about what happened, but deciding that is not her job. Bonuses totalling $140,000 to two employees apparently were not approved by the board, and that in itself would seem to be enough to furnish an incentive for looking into the whole smelly operation. In any case, mostly with the outrageous and un-policed use of credit cards, the crooks took over the operations in all four entities. Actually, the University of Kentucky was forced to fire some folks, too, for the same reasons – corruption. It’s been a bad year in Kentucky for officials who have operated either in incompetence, ignorance, or outright corruption. Some of them will pay. Most will not.
And so it goes.