Jim Gray Doles Out The Big Bucks

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the severe winter storms, snowstorms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides during the period of February 15-22, 2015. [Press Release]

Four members of Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s staff have received hefty salary increases during the past year, salary data show. [H-L]

Think about this: more than 4 in 10 people in the United States live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution. [HuffPo]

Here is some reaction from officials and friends on the passing of federal Judge John Heyburn. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, launched a long-shot bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, a move likely to pressure Hillary Clinton from the left on issues from income inequality to corporate governance. [Reuters]

Considering he is a Kentucky icon and Greenup County native, the author of scores of books and subject of many a scholarly article, the late Jesse Stuart is not as well understood as most people might think. [Ashland Independent]

With Baltimore’s troubles as a backdrop, House Republicans are proposing new cuts from urban programs this week even as their budget would add tens of billions of dollars for the Pentagon to get around strict spending caps. [Politico]

This is the big news in Morehead: a funeral home is changing its name. [The Morehead News]

The American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-Sept. 11 war on terror, according to a new report by a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists. [NY Times]

The post-position draw happened at Churchill Downs on April 29. The Kentucky Derby will happen on May 2. [WHAS11]

Wall Street closed sharply lower on Thursday as weak results from several companies hit investor sentiment. Wednesday’s disappointing GDP figures also contributed to the sharp falls in the US. [BBC]

During any other week twenty flights would make a busy day for Atlantic Aviation. However, the Thursday through Saturday of Derby week redefines wingtip-to wingtip. [WAVE3]

President Barack Obama’s library will be built in Chicago, NBC News confirmed Thursday. [NBC Chicago]

We can’t stop laughing about this. A DARE officer for the Frankfort Police Department who allegedly was involved in a transaction for anabolic steroids with a central figure in the recent high-profile bourbon thefts has resigned, a department spokesman said Wednesday. [H-L]

The federal money pot that pays for roads, bridges and mass transit expires in one month, and lawmakers are struggling to build support for legislation that would extend it. [HuffPo]

Don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lawn Darts of Fate! Contest runs through the end of the week. [Page One & The ‘Ville Voice]

Montgomery County Schools: One Step Closer To Solving The Financial Riddle

On Tuesday evening the Montgomery County Board of Education made some big moves.

We’ve long reported that fired/former superintendent Joshua Powell, with the assistance of Jacqui Johnston, moved school bookkeepers to central office in an attempt to maintain absolute control, voiding safeguards and proper segregation of duties.

So the board shut that down:



Finance, controlled by Johnston, has been in a bit of turmoil the past few months several staffers have come forward to share information off-the-record. While those employees fear retaliation and losing their jobs, none of them want to speak on-the-record. But I’m sure anyone following the Montgomery County Schools saga closely will be fascinated to learn that Angela Rhodes no longer signs off on finance reports — that’s now handled by Candace Hunt, one of the Powell/Johnston inner circle members.

Shortly after the board voted to return bookkeepers to the schools, Johnston was visibly upset. Two finance staffers present conferred with Johnston and stormed out of the meeting. Hint, hint: where there’s smoke there’s fire.

In addition to instituting stronger financial controls, the school board also gave district auditor Artie White the boot.

By a 5-0 vote, the board hired Cloyd & Associates of London, Kentucky to conduct a review of the district’s financials:




FROM THE BOARD MEETING AGENDA


CLICK TO ENLARGE

That sent a shockwave through the district because finances will finally be examined.

In light of Joshua Powell’s claims of having a massive contingency fund — as much as $9.5-$10 million — you can expect the books to get a close examination.

Reality?

Contingency funds in July 2013 — $7,355,181.49:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

April 10, 2015 — $6,163,230.96:


CLICK TO ENLARGE

With next year’s contingency projected to be just $5,532,721.75:


FROM THE DISTRICT’S LATEST BUDGET

That regular decrease in contingency funds is worse than it appears. Each year the district pushed more into the account, as it received more in revenue, and Powell still gutted the fund.

Should be a fun next few months in Montgomery County.

Dropping Bombs On Jamie Comer?

Marilyn Thomas is the woman Jamie Comer dated all those years ago. The individual at the center of claims he physically assaulted her. There’s no need to rehash all of that because she doesn’t deserve to suffer if it really did occur. Or if it didn’t. Either way, it’s horrifying.

But Jamie Comer recently addressed the allegations in a story his lobbyist, Riggs Lewis, fed to the Herald-Leader about Hal Heiner’s folks being behind the anti-Comer smear campaign. Which might have been the dumbest thing Comer could ever do — denying or not denying.

Because check this out:




FEAST YOUR EYES

And this:


RUH RO

She’s dropping scandalous hints left and right.

Jamie Comer can probably kiss his political career goodbye.

Fascinating Theory About Those Emails

Time for some inside baseball.

Everyone seems to be gossiping about how those emails between KC Crosbie, her husband, Scott, and Michael Adams found their way to Sam Youngman.

Since they apparently came from Scott’s former law firm’s email server, there’s something to keep in mind: Sannie Overly’s husband works there.

We’ve previously highlighted that tangled web but it gets more and more interesting by the day.

What Jamie Comer initially thought would help him has now ended up sinking him even further.

Clues Point To Comer Campaign Coordination With Super PAC

Throughout the gubernatorial primary, Jamie Comer’s sent weekly email updates to his inner circle — or the people he things are deeply on his side.

You’ve seen a few examples, thanks to rogue members of his staff, but here’s one from just a few weeks ago:

It’s 72 days until the Primary and our superior organization is getting fully activated.  Our volunteers began making phone calls last week, our social media activity continues to increase, our events are attracting large crowds, we are seeing vehicles displaying our bumper stickers on every road we travel, and many of the politicos who were undecided through the first six months of the campaign are now committing to Team Comer.  As I said on my 20 minute CN2 interview this past week, “It’s a very exciting time in our campaign!”

In addition to the 72-day mark, tomorrow marks the six month anniversary of our campaign launch.  A lot of great things have happened since September 9th when we stood on the lawn of the Monroe Co. Courthouse and announced our candidacy.  A lot more must happen if we are to finish the primary out in order to position ourselves to defeat Jack Conway in the General Election. I will never forget those who stood with me on day one, and I am extremely grateful for those who are now with us as we move forward.

This past week was consistent with almost every other week from a press standpoint.  The bottom line is this:  The major media outlets are not interested in the Governor race.  For the past three weeks, there have been less than five stories all across the state about the Governor race.  The political news has been about Rand Paul, the Legislative Session, the special election for the 27th District State Senate Race (which Republican Steve West decisively won) and DC politics pertaining to McConnell and Yarmuth.  This lack of interest is a positive for us because our grassroots organization is our strength.  The lack of interest is a negative for the candidate who has spent millions on advertisements!  As I stated in the very first email I sent out six months ago, the turnout in this primary will be extremely low.  I’m sticking with my initial estimate of 16%!  So every vote counts in a 4-way primary.  We must continue to: A) Target the likely primary voters and make sure they know about the Comer/McDaniel Ticket and B) Focus on getting our voters out to the polls on May 19th. 

Summarizing last week’s travels, I taped a very positive CN2 interview in Louisville Monday.  You may watch that interview on their website at www.mycn2.com.  After the interview, I spent the rest of the evening in the Northern KY community of Edgewood at a Meet-n-Greet hosted by the Milburn Family.  We have had many events and campaign stops in Northern KY over the past six months and we are blessed with an amazing organization in Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties.  The quality of the crowd at the Milburn event was impressive.  Just to mention a few of the notables in attendance at that event were Kenton Judge Kris Knochelmann, Kenton Co Attorney Stacy Sapke, Kenton Commissioner Jon Draud, Boone GOP Vice-Chair Phyllis Sparks, NKY Developer Bill Butler, Kenton Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn, representatives from Congressman Massie’s office, Campbell Co Commissioner Brian Painter, Kim Moser, and former US Senator Jim Bunning made a personal donation to our campaign at that event.

After spending a full day tending to KY Department of Agriculture business, I traveled East Tuesday to Salyersville.  We had 47 people attend our Magoffin Co Meet-n-Greet.  Most of that crowd were Republicans who will vote in the primary in that heavily Democrat county.  Our organization in Magoffin, Morgan, Lawrence and Johnson Counties in the far eastern portion of the 5th Congressional District is solid.

Wednesday TJ and I campaigned in Lexington.  TJ gave a great introduction of me to the Fayette Co GOP Women in advance of my remarks to the group.  TJ is an active member of that organization.  KC Crosbie is also a member.  We have a majority of support in that club and that speaks volumes.  After that meeting, I attended a few private donor meetings with Nick Carter to gain financial support for our upcoming Lexington fundraiser hosted by Joe Craft and Kelly Knight on March 17th.  We are expecting that event to be a huge success and to send a strong message about our support in the state’s second biggest Republican county.

Thursday was “snowmageddon” so my planned campaign stop in Bullitt Co was cancelled; however, I utilized that entire day on the phone.  Friday, I was in Louisville all day performing my duties as Agriculture Commissioner working the KY Beef Expo Show and Sale.  Like all things in agriculture over the past 3 years, it was another huge success.  One of the things that should always be mentioned in this Governor race is the fact that the agriculture industry in KY is in the strongest financial position in its history.  Agriculture is growing, good jobs are being created, and much wealth is being generated due to the great expansion taking place within the industry.  That is a good point to mention with voters who want a bold leader with a record of achievement. 

Saturday night I traveled to the Warren Co GOP Banquet.  I will say what I said at the Barren Co GOP Banquet a few weeks ago:  “It’s good to be back home!”  There were over 400 in attendance at the banquet in Bowling Green and we had the support of 75% of the attendees.  If Hal Heiner didn’t bring all of his paid staff and bus a table load of people from Louisville to these GOP Banquets, it would definitely be “slim-pickens” for him!  There was lots of buzz in Bowling Green about our upcoming fundraiser.  Attached is a list of sponsors for the event, and I strongly encourage everyone to see who all is on board in Bowling Green.  I am going to go out on a limb and make a prediction that, next to our very first event in Glasgow on September 9, I think this Bowling Green fundraiser will be our biggest.  Let’s hope for the best!

Sen. McDaniel had another busy week in Frankfort serving as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations & Revenue Committee and sponsoring key legislation like the Heroin Bill.  After working the crowd at the historic UK Basketball game on Saturday, he attended the Clark Co GOP Banquet. 

Upcoming Events:
3/9    – Corbin Fundraiser – 5-6:00 EDT at home of Terry & Marion Forcht, 500 Scenic View, Corbin
3/10  – Richmond Luncheon Fundraiser – 11:30-1:00 EDT hosted by Rep. Jonathan Shell, Brian Ramsey & Judge Reagan Taylor at 743 Benson DR, Richmond
3/10  – Louisville Fundraiser – 6-8:00 EDT hosted by Mac Brown & featuring Rubicon Global CEO Nate Morris, 5208 Avish LN, Louisville
3/12  – Comer/McDaniel Young Professionals Reception – 6:30 EDT at Jefferson Davis Inn, 319 Cedar ST, Lexington
3/14  – Comer/McDaniel Northern KY Victory Office Grand Opening – Noon EDT at 7821 Dream ST, Florence
3/16  – Bowling Green Fundraiser – 5:30-7:30 CDT at home of JP & Jill Nixon, 1190 Drakes LN, Bowling Green 
3/17  – Lexington Fundraiser – 6:00-7:30 EDT hosted by Joe Craft & Kelly Knight at the Alliance Coal Building, Lexington
3/18  – Washington, DC Fundraiser w/Congressman Ed Whitfield – 5:30-7:00 EDT at 403 East Capitol ST, SE, Washington, DC
3/23  – Hopkinsville Fundraiser -6:00-8:00 CDT at home of Lori Harper, 7435 Julien RD, Hopkinsville
3/24  – Louisville Fundraiser – 6:00-8:00 EDT hosted by Dr. Ben Gaddie & Rory McMahan, 5802 River RD, Harrods Creek
3/26  – Associated Builders & Contractors Fundraiser, Metropolitan Club, Covington
3/27  – Owen Co Fundraiser
3/30  – Hardin Co Fundraiser hosted by Rep Jim DuPlessis, Elizabethtown
3/31  – Winchester Fundraiser hosted by Rick Mink
4/2    – Scott/Woodford Counties Fundraiser hosted by Ron & Kathy Stocks, Midway
4/6    – Hazard Meet-n-Greet
4/7    – Johnson Co Fundraiser in Paintsville
4/9    – Henderson Fundraiser hosted by Dr. Gary & Suzette Jennings
4/13  – Garrard Co Fundraiser

This next week is a busy week with some pretty significant events.  I will campaign in Williamsburg, Corbin, Lexington, Richmond, Louisville, Campbellsville, Mount Sterling, Hodgenville, Covington, Florence and Shelbyville.  TJ will campaign in Lexington, Louisville, Russell Springs and Shelbyville this week.  And Sen. McDaniel will speak at the Russell Co GOP Banquet (along with TJ) Thursday night and the Calloway Co GOP Banquet in Murray Friday night.  Between the three of us, we will be in all six congressional districts this coming week.

I am really excited about the upcoming Comer/McDaniel Young Professionals Reception this Thursday evening in Lexington.  We have a layer of organization called our Young Professionals which primarily consist of our next generation leaders from the ages of 25 to 40.  These are young entrepreneurs, lawyers, CPA’s, medical professionals, and political leaders from all across the state.  The purpose of this reception is to inspire, motivate and officially activate this impressive group.  Some have already been playing a major role in the campaign, but most have not because they have never been a part of any campaign on any level.  These are the types of voters that the Republicans have failed to get in the Governor races in the past.  We have identified the top young professionals from across the state who are interested in helping and we are going to bring them together Thursday night at the Jefferson Davis Inn in Lexington.  It will be an exciting event which will add a jolt of energy to our campaign as we close out this primary.

This Saturday at noon we will be officially opening our Northern Kentucky Victory Office.  I am so appreciative of the organizational leaders who are leading that endeavor that include Phyllis Sparks, Boone Co. PVA Cindy Arlinghaus, and many more effective leaders from Northern Kentucky.  Later that evening I will attend the Shelby Co GOP Banquet.

People always ask me if I’m getting tired, and I always respond, “No, I’m running on adrenaline!”  Thank you so much for all of the phone calls, Facebook posts, letters to the editors, donations and everything in between that you have done to get us to this point in the election.  Let’s keep the momentum, win and then make history!

Jamie 

James R. Comer
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture
comer@jamescomer.com

Now that you’ve read Jamie Comer’s diary, here’s the real reason this is a thing: The recipient list. Jamie forgot to BCC everyone, cramming them all in the TO: field. It’s a wild list.

Here’s some of it (redactions ours):



CLICK EACH TO ENLARGE

Ignore that he’s effectively soliciting campaign contributions by sending out a list of his fundraisers to state government employees. Ignore all the Fletcher folks. Ignore all the lobbyists he’s tried to distance himself from. Ignore the mega-wealthy people allegedly funding his Super PAC.

The big thing? Richard Knock and Kathryn Breiwa, the people who operate Jamie Comer’s Super PAC (here & here), are on that list. Middle of page two (Knock) and top right of page four (Breiwa).

What was that, again, about there being no coordination between the Comer Campaign and the pro-Comer Super PAC?

BONUS: You’ll want to check back shortly after 1:30 P.M. Eastern today for even more Jamie Comer fun.

Here’s Jamie Comer Making Big Claims

Again.

See for yourself:



No, he’s not a lawyer. But the person who actually did all of the things Jamie Comer is taking credit for? She certainly is a lawyer.

She fought the DEA (not Barack Obama) and won while Jamie was terrified to take the big step. She did it on her own. I know — I was talking to her as she did it in the federal courthouse.

Cleaning up his office? That, too, was a lawyer. She used her ties to Adam Edelen to send Richie Farmer to prison.

As far as being able to trust Comer? You already know you can’t. And that’s why he’ll never be governor. He’ll either be beat by Hal Heiner and Matt Bevin next month or he’ll be put out to pasture by Jack Conway in November.

NOTE: You’ll want to check back shortly after 12:00 P.M. Eastern today. Should be a rough afternoon for Jamie Comer, to say the least.