Jack Coleman, who served in the state house for 14 years, should know a conflict of interest better than anyone. What, with the decade and a half of ethics training he endured.
He’s been Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction in Kentucky since April 2012. As you can see from the agency’s own website, it’s a job that’s kind of a big deal. Everyone we’ve spoken with in the Public Protection Cabinet seems to think so, anyway.
So does he:
FROM LINKED IN
You can imagine our surprise when we discovered the man who once had “the largest contingent of state employees of any House district” would potentially be caught up in a conflict of interest. Especially after a glowing nomination like that from then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo.
Here’s the deal: Coleman started a business in October last year that presents a conflict of interest as big as any we’ve seen in state government. It’s called Coleman Family Construction:
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According to the Kentucky Revised Statutes, what Coleman is doing is in violation of the law. Or, at best, a conflict of interest big enough to raise red flags throughout the capitol. From KRS 198B.030 (Warning: External PDF Link):
Neither the commissioner nor any member of his or her staff shall be employed, either directly or indirectly, in any aspect of the building industry as regulated by this chapter while employed by the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction.
Pretty clear, isn’t it? At best, this is a major conflict of interest. At worst, he’s directly in violation of the KRS.
We reached out to Coleman for an explanation but have received none beyond this:
Coleman Family Construction, LLC was never an active entity. Coleman Family Construction, LLC has never engaged in any business activity of any kind at any time.
Which… okay. Deputy Commissioner of the agency forms a business and had no plans for it. Right. Nothing to see here, move along.
There have been no Ethics opinions released on the matter and an open records request for Coleman’s records turned up nothing.
So we’re left to speculation.
What’d he plan to do? Use his position in state government to line his pockets? Conduct business only outside Kentucky? Just test the waters to see if anyone would notice?