Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Tale of Two Judges

It appears that former University of Kentucky basketball star Ed Davender stole about $100,000 from people he snookered into believing he could acquire basketball-game tickets for them. He pleaded guilty when caught. As a result, Circuit Judge James Ishmael recently sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Diane M. Montgomery, former assistant branch manager of a Lexington bank, pleaded guilty recently to embezzling $34,665 from the bank and has repaid about $33,500. Judge Ishmael sentenced her to three years. There’s no argument with the fact that prison time is appropriate for those who steal from others.

Former Bluegrass Airport Chief Michael Gobb and three of his subordinates in just a three-year period, 2006-08, managed to do away with $530,000 of airport funds on travel, meals, entertainment (like strip clubs, for instance), etc. State Auditor Crit Luallen looked into the shenanigans of these guys after the Lexington Herald-Leader (Jennifer Hewlett) exposed them. There’s no telling how much more they had stolen before 2006 but their pattern indicates that it must have been huge. All four were charged with felonies just for the thefts in the three-year period.

Gobb’s salary was nearly $220,000 annually with perks amounting to many thousands more, including a car, unlimited gas, club memberships, etc. The average salary of the other three was $139,318, plus a car and other perks. Apparently, their greed outstripped any susceptibility they might at some time have had concerning honesty. There was a bit of personal payback after they were caught. All four pleaded guilty at one time or another and appeared before Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine. They received no prison time at all, just slaps on their respective wrists.

There’s something wrong with this. The first two had the book thrown at them by Judge Ishmael. The last four walked, courtesy of Judge Goodwine, even though they stole much more and even though tax monies from the city of Lexington were involved. Justice is supposed to be blind, but not this blind.

In this corner, there’s no wish that people go to jail, but there is the desire that people be treated equally. In this case and for whatever reason, legal or otherwise, one could certainly have reason to believe they apparently were not.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark


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