UK Agency Again Ignoring Sunshine Laws

Remember when the Attorney General told the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation that it was subject to Kentucky’s open records laws?

Yeah?

From November 9, 2015:

A foundation affiliated with the University of Kentucky that was questioned during the controversial ouster of a UK surgeon must turn over its records for public inspection, Attorney General Jack Conway has ruled.

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“Kentucky Medical Services Foundation operated as a secretive entity within UK for more than 30 years,” Hatemi said. “I have significant concerns about the university’s money being mismanaged under the disguise of KMSF without any oversight from UK Board of Trustees.”

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The Herald-Leader has made several requests for documents to the foundation in recent months. Officials have provided the requested documents but have maintained they were not required to do so by law.

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UK’s argument that the foundation is private relied on a 1982 decision by the attorney general which found that the foundation was not subject to the Open Records Act. But subsequent decisions by the attorney general found the University Medical Center, which administers the University of Louisville’s practice plan, was a public agency because U of L appointed a majority of its board.

The same is true for KMSF, the attorney general ruled.

“Documents submitted to this office … confirm that the University of Kentucky and the College of Medicine exercise extensive and continuing control of the foundation,” the opinion states.

The ruling cites numerous examples of UK’s control of the foundation, including bylaws that prohibit the foundation from accepting gifts or merging with another entity without the university’s consent and require the foundation to submit to audits by UK’s internal audit office.

Well…

Turns out the KMSF decided to break the law again!

Lachin Hatemi filed another request with the organization on February 1, asking specifically for:

Any agreements between KMSF, University of Kentucky and Coldstream Laboratories Inc. between January 2010 and January 2015

And KMSF said:



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Can you believe that? They had the nerve to claim agreements – government agreements – are confidential. Hahaha.

Okay. Sure. Keep up with that front. Because the matter is being appealed, yet again, to the Office of the Attorney General.

This is why Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Interesting Hornback Flashback Time…

Remember when Paul Hornback embarrassed Kentucky on The Daily Show?

The Daily Show has a theory on America’s children: they’re wimps. Especially when they’re working long days picking tobacco. So on last night’s episode, Samantha Bee went to investigate what it’s like working on a tobacco farm as a teen.

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“What would you say to people who say ‘This work is too dangerous for a 12 year old’?” Bee asked Kentucky State Sen. Paul Hornback, a tobacco farmer himself.

“Children need to experience things,” Hornback said. “We don’t need more laws on the books to try to protect everybody from everything there is out there.”

And as for the teens who take issue with their long strenuous days with health risks?

“All kids complain about work. We’re raising a society that’s too soft,” Hornback said.

“What I’m hearing from you is that American children are pussies,” Bee said.

We hear it’s about to get way worse for Hornback with hemp.

And I don’t mean television comedy.

Hey, Shelby Co, Justice Is Coming

Before you read this, please know that I’m not the least bit objective when it comes to issues animal care or elder abuse. What you see is what you get. Track record speaks for itself. Like a dog on a bone, so to speak.

Almost every year around February 2, something big on the animal care front happens. Example: In 2011, it was me forcing out yet another Louisville Metro Animal Services shyster and Greg Fischer holding a press conference to talk about The ‘Ville Voice. It’s bizarre but happens so frequently I felt it worth a mention.

Flashback:

And here we are again on Groundhog Day.

Recall, if you will, a brief mention I made about atrocities at the Shelby County animal care facility in 2014:

When you hear “Shelby County Animal Control/No Kill Mission” you automatically think warm fuzzies, right? Because you assume animals are adequately cared for, well-fed and not euthanized. Because that’s what any sane person would do.

Unfortunately, the folks there — because they want to live up to being no-kill — are STARVING ANIMALS TO DEATH.

Note: Do not click the link if you cannot handle graphic images or the reality of what passes for acceptable animal care in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The level of abuse and torture blew my mind then and it’s blown again just seeing the photos.

I promised justice at the time but only after giving officials in Shelby County the opportunity to do the right thing. Whattya know? They didn’t do the right thing. Didn’t even try.

Now those bad actors find themselves staring down the barrel of a lawsuit:


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Filed by Dan Canon, fresh off a Supreme Court victory, and Ted Walton.

Some of the facts:

  • In late 2013, Ms. Moore and several other local residents became aware of disturbing conditions at the Shelter. Many of the dogs in the care of the Shelter were noticeably undernourished, their ribcages plainly visible. Crates were not cleaned regularly, and canine waste was permitted to collect for days at a time. When cleaning was attempted, disinfectant was sprayed into cages with the dogs still present causing chemical burns, bleeding paws, and skin conditions. Dogs were not permitted any exercise, and their living spaces were not adequately protected from the weather.
  • Shelby County Animal Care Coalition was organized in early 2014 in response to the appalling conditions at the Shelter.
  • Shelby County Animal Care Coalition worked closely with County officials and the Shelter management, including Defendant Federle, throughout 2014, providing volunteers, guidance, and support in the hopes that animals would receive more humane treatment. These efforts were unsuccessful, and animals continued to be subjected to unacceptable conditions at the Shelter.
  • The relationship between Shelby County Animal Care Coalition and Mr. Federle became increasingly adversarial, and Mr. Federle ultimately barred Coalition members from access to the Shelter so they could not help care for animals or monitor the conditions in which the animals were kept.
  • Mr. Federle agreed to meet Ms. Moore to transfer the Surveillance Videos on May 21, 2015. Mr. Federle cancelled the appointment on May 21, shortly before the scheduled meeting.
  • Ms. Moore and Mr. Federle rescheduled the appointment for May 28, 2015. Mr. Federle again cancelled on the day of the appointment – one hour prior to the appointment time – and rescheduled for the following week.
  • On June 5, 2015, Ms. Moore and Mr. Pendleton were finally able to meet with Mr. Federle at the Shelter and were allowed access to the electronic storage of the Surveillance Videos. However, at that time, Ms. Moore and Mr. Pendleton discovered that all stored footage of the Surveillance Videos had been deleted on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 1:53 a.m.
  • Mr. Pendleton, an experienced technology professional, expressed the belief that “there are too many steps that must be taken” to erase the hard drive such that it could not have been accomplished accidentally.

On top of all that, here’s an October opinion from the Office of the Attorney General telling the animal shysters they were in the wrong:


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That’s some extreme cover-up activity that went down.

This is why we can’t have nice things in Kentucky.

A Holliday Groundhog Day Flashback

Flashback to February 2, 2015: then-Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday was caught going after a school board member with misinformation and rumor:

Unsettling that Holliday would get so much so wrong and bulldoze ahead, no questions asked, isn’t it? But that’s what occurred.

Holliday, who was tight with the former supe in Menifee County (just like he’s tight with Joshua Powell in Montgomery County), took to the supe’s defense and went after the people who were trying to do right by the people who elected them.

Now you see why so many people are distrustful of Holliday’s involvement in Montgomery County as it relates to the Board and Joshua Powell. Because there’s an established pattern of Holliday protecting failed superintendents who wreak havoc…

Thought it’d be worth bringing up again since Holliday got kicked out of the Commonwealth.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Can Rand Make It Til The KY Caucus?

With less than a week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Cookie Tree) returned to the prime-time Republican debate stage Thursday to make his closing argument to voters. [H-L]

Republicans are determined to push on with their investigation of Planned Parenthood, even after a Texas grand jury cleared the organization of wrongdoing on Monday and instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who targeted the family planning provider in a series of undercover videos. [HuffPo]

Kentucky’s main funding stream for public schools escaped cutbacks in Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal Tuesday, but if approved by the legislature, colleges and universities would face reductions and a new effort to tie funding to performance. [C-J/AKN]

What is being done to fight heroin and prescription drug abuse in hard-hit states like New Hampshire? What can Congress do to help? Lawmakers tackle the issue. [NPR]

At least one new face will be added to the Russell City Council after all but one council member filed for re-election in the upcoming nonpartisan municipal race. [Ashland Independent]

Decades before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman to run for president for a major political party she was years ahead of her time. So why don’t more people know about her? [BBC]

Metcalfe County magistrates adopted on second reading an ordinance Tuesday morning adding a $35 annual membership charge/subscriber fee to county residents’ property tax bills. The fee is being levied in order to provide fire protection services for the county. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump has caused Republican leaders to shudder at the impact the bombastic New Yorker could have on down-ticket races. Democrats, however, see only potential for election wins. [Politico]

Here’s yet another take on Jim Gray. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, a Democrat, on Tuesday announced he will run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Rand Paul. [Ronnie Ellis]

A U.S. appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday over whether a high school in Virginia should be ordered to allow a transgendered student to use the boys’ bathroom, even though he was born a biological female. [Reuters]

Reminder: This is one of the guys Bevin trusts to cut 9% from the budget at his discretion. [Page One]

The White House on Wednesday said it has “concerns” with many of the provisions in a wide-ranging energy bill being debated in the Senate. [The Hill]

The homeless count was completed in Louisville and let’s just cut to the chase: this is hugely disappointing. Compassionate City needs a bit more compassion. [The ‘Ville Voice]

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama promised to unite Washington and the nation behind progressive change. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton mocked him. [HuffPo]

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It’s Frankfort Tidbit Update Time

Adam Edelen should take the KDP chairmanship.

Stop asking people, Adam, and just do it.

Unless you’re in another nervous sweat over talking out of both sides of your mouth about members of the executive committee? I can assure you no one outside of that bunch of elderly good old boys cares. Just like no one will care that you’ve publicly praised a racist fearmonger (John David Dyche).

If you don’t take the job, you can’t expect to have much of a political career. Gonna need to leave some of your drunk friends behind, though.

The Dale Emmons/Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes/Jerry Lundergan/Jonathan Hurst crew involved in Jim Gray’s race are already alienating people. It’ll be like 2014 all over again. MIA candidate, bitter asshole staffers, a lot of money and a lot more disappointment.

Unless something changes quickly. (Spoiler alert: nothing will change)

State Rep. Chris Harris, a man many credit with taking down W. Keith Hall’s regime, got his open records bill (HB 80) unanimously released from committee this week.

Because he’s pro-transparency and anti-corruption, he’s being primaried by a Ray Ray Jones/UMG-supported guy. And on the Republican side? UMG has a candidate alleged to be funded by Leonard Lawson set to take Harris on.

This is why Eastern Kentucky can’t have nice things.

Hearing from Frankfort insiders that Jamie Comer’s hemp efforts may end up being soured… by Jamie Comer.

The hot gossip (it’s not really gossip) is that Democrats have been denied hemp approval left and right, while Republicans aligned with Comer sailed through the approval process. Not sure that’s a big deal, really. Probably much more good old boy back scratching than partisanship. Because at least one longtime Democrat with ties to illegal cultivation and alleged drug smuggling from the Julian Carroll era was granted a permit. His name’s prominently displayed on state government websites even though he should be nowhere near hemp. Comer knew it at the time but turned a blind eye because of the guy’s ties to Woody Harrelson. Allegedly. Cough.

Flash back to this October 22 story:

The Shell Farm and Greenhouses in Lancaster is turning its fields away from tobacco, growing 157,000 hemp plants on 40 acres outdoors and 3,500 plants in a greenhouse.

“And we’ll be growing it indoors all winter,” Giles Shell said. Shell’s greenhouses once raised flowers; now he’s working on hemp genetics.

“There’s no seed crop, so we have to take cuttings to get the plants in the field. So I’m selecting genetics, for a hardier plant — bigger, fuller,” Shell said. “We’ve got a problem with variegation or chimera, so I trying to select away from it.”

Next year, Shell intends to grow even more hemp.

“We’re going to quit raising our tobacco crop, and if we do any flowers, it will be downsized,” Shell said.

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The Shell family, which has a three-year contract with GenCanna, certainly is now.

“We were very leery — I was the most reserved in my family of starting to do this,” Giles Shell said. “But … I felt like we were the best route to help commercialize this crop. Demand is really high, and supply isn’t there. Basic economics will tell you that’s profit.

“We’ve got a year ahead of everybody else that’s going to get into the game.”

One of the big partners of GenCanna? State Rep. Jonathan Shell’s relative.

Why does that matter? Shell sits on the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.

Consider these minutes from July 1, 2015. That’s a lot of money to be throwing around to hemp. Particularly while Shell’s relatives are knee-deep in it. Smells a lot like a CBD monopoly in the works.

Meanwhile, Comer’s telling people who have been shut out that he has no idea what’s going on, blaming Ryan Quarles left and right. Reality? Comer started this mess. And he controlled the secretive hemp committee that no one knows anything about – the group of people doling out permits.

Comer’s crew ought to back up a taste before they ruin it for everybody.

P.S. Hearing there’s a freshman state senator (R) about to be (already?) permitted despite never having farmed a day in his life. Andy Beshear’s office is gonna have its work cut out for it.