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Two former Richie Farmer subordinates found guilty

By Tom Loftus The Courier-Journal

FRANKFORT - Two employees of the state Agriculture Department under former Commissioner Richie Farmer were found guilty Monday of violating the code of ethics for state employees.

That brings to seven - including Farmer himself - the number of department employees during Farmer's 2004-11 tenure who have been found guilty of ethics violations.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission on Monday reached settlements in cases it brought last year against Bill Ed Mobley and his brother Steve Mobley.

In one settlement, Bill Ed Mobley admitted claiming pay on his time sheets for times he failed to carry out his assigned job duties. "Mobley was assigned the duties of a Stockyard Market Reporter," a news release from the commission said. But "Mobley consistently failed to appear at these stockyards and failed to make market reports of the activities of the stockyards."

Mobley also admitted violating the ethics code by claiming mileage reimbursement for trips to stockyards he did not take.

Under the settlement, the commission reprimanded Bill Ed Mobley and fined him $3,000.

In the other settlement, the commission found Steve Mobley violated the ethics code for processing time sheets and mileage reimbursement claims of his brother. In the settlement, Steve Mobley did not admit to this violation but agreed not to contest the charge.

Steve Mobley did admit in the settlement that he violated the code by failing to report in his annual disclosure statement a gift - a wooden hat valued at about $600 from a Kentucky Proud vendor.

The commission reprimanded Steve Mobley and fined him $2,500.

Both Mobleys are from Farmer's hometown of Manchester. They were among several appointees of Farmer fired in early 2012 by Farmer's successor as agriculture commissioner, James Comer.

Steve Mobley's attorney, Paul Fauri of Frankfort, had no comment on Monday's settlement. Bill Ed Mobley's attorney, Stephan Charles, of Manchester, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The commission previously reached settlements with Farmer and four other department employees.

The commission has one case still pending against a former Agriculture Department employee during Farmer's tenure. That case is against Stephanie L. Sandmann, who has denied the commission's charge that she claimed pay for time not worked.

Farmer, a former basketball player for the University of Kentucky, settled multiple ethics counts last year as part of an agreement that also saw him plead guilty to two counts of a federal indictment that alleged theft of public funds. He is serving a 27-month sentence at a federal prison in West Virginia.

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