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Disclosure of probe angers Beyer

BY CORIANNE EGAN cegan@paducahsun.com

McCracken County Commissioner Jerry Beyer took to the microphone Friday afternoon to admonish a fellow commissioner and comment on an email to him from former Emergency Management Services director Paul Carter.

Beyer released the contents of an email he received from Carter which is at the center of a Kentucky State Police investigation. Carter sent the email to Beyer on Oct. 11, two months after Carter was suspended for engaging in roadside fisticuffs at the scene of a wreck and just after a grievance hearing on Carter's behalf. The email mentions Beyer's political ambitions, then talks about an incident that Beyer said happened 33 years ago.

Beyer said that while serving as county coroner, he attended a training session in Richmond and went out with friends. After going out, he called a woman who was also at the training session. That woman called the campus police, although Beyer says he was not aware of that at the time.

He admitted the situation was true, but said he was shocked that Carter resulted to smear tactics. Beyer said he was unaware of anything he said that was inappropriate to the woman and campus police never contacted him.

Beyer also said he was disappointed in County Commissioner Ronnie Freeman, who made the email investigation public over the weekend. Freeman filed a criminal complaint with the McCracken County Sheriff's Department over a $31,000 check to Carter, and said he did not believe the Fiscal Court voted to pay Carter and that he was concerned about paying Carter because of the investigation.

"When Commissioner Ronnie Freeman released what was talked about during executive session, he may not have violated the public's trust, but he certainly violated Jerry Beyer's trust," Beyer said.

Beyer also said he was upset at a Paducah Sun editorial earlier this week, which questioned whether he should have voted in matters pertaining to Carter because of the open investigation. Each vote - whether it was to suspend Carter, or to pay out tens of thousands of dollars in sick, vacation and comp time that Carter was owed - was the correct one to make, Beyer said.

"I have never backed down from doing what I thought was right, even in the face of threats," Beyer told the media. "My decisions in that capacity will always be in the best interest of McCracken County, not Jerry Beyer."

Beyer took no questions after the 10-minute news conference.

Freeman, Carter and Carter's attorney, Jeremy Ian Smith, could not be reached for comment.

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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