Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rich White Man Goes to Prison for Money Crimes

Not so long ago, Richie Farmer was an untouchable. A University of Kentucky basketball star, wealthy and popular, elected and re-elected to state office despite severe moral and intellectual handicaps, on the fast track to the Governor's Mansion, he was the epitome of white male privilege in the Commonwealth.

But he's going to prison on financial charges.

It gives me hope that Jaime Dimon may someday actually pay for his crimes.

Greg Kocher at the Herald:

Former University of Kentucky basketball star Richie Farmer was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for misusing state resources during his tenure as Kentucky's agriculture commissioner.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ordered Farmer to pay $120,500 in restitution, with $105,500 going to the state and $15,000 going to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Farmer, 44, a guard for the 1991-92 UK team dubbed "The Unforgettables" for their gutsy play, had pleaded guilty in September to two counts of misappropriating government resources while overseeing the Agriculture Department. Farmer, a Republican, was agriculture commissioner from 2004 to 2011.
No, this wasn't quiet and subtle account-shifting. This was theft of public money on so blatant and public a scale that it was common knowledge among state workers, whose legendary cynicism was inadequate to the occasion.

Sure, they knew Reeeeetchie was a mental and moral midget with an ego only UK basketball stardom can build, but his blind arrogance left them breathless.
Prosecutors alleged that Farmer had created political jobs for close friends who performed little or no work. Those employees allegedly ran personal errands for Farmer, including building a basketball court at his home in Frankfort and chauffeuring his dog, while being paid by the state.

The indictment alleged that Farmer took a variety of state property, including electronic equipment, guns, knives, refrigerators and filing cabinets. Farmer's extended family stayed in hotel rooms that were paid for by the state during the Kentucky State Fair in 2009 and 2010, the indictment alleged.

Farmer also faced a 42-count charge brought by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission. Those charges included misuse of state employees, misuse of state resources, improper use of grants and improper use of Kentucky Proud marketing funds.
Those are kind euphemisms for behavior like giving his pregnant mistress a six-figure "job" with no actual work responsibilities.

Farmer will probably get a nice rest in some minimum-security federal country club, but if Kentuckians really want to punish him - and puncture a nice big hole in the roundball worship that so distorts our politics - there's one easy way to do that.
The judge took note of Farmer's basketball triumphs and said: "Nothing I'm saying today should take away from those accomplishments."

Van Tatenhove then added his two cents' worth on whether Farmer's retired jersey should still hang from the Rupp Arena rafters. Some people have questioned whether a uniform honoring a soon-to-be federal prison inmate should still hang there.

Van Tatenhove left no doubt about his opinion, saying it "should remain hanging from now until eternity."
 Unfortunately, it will.

Read more here:

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