Everything Bevin Touches Turns To Trash

Leave it to Matt Bevin to make stupid economic mistake after stupid economic mistake. Capital Plaza redevelopment is about to throw a 385,500-square-foot wrench into one of Franklin County’s biggest industries — office space. [H-L]

While serving as a top campaign aide to Donald Trump, former national security adviser Michael Flynn made tens of thousands of dollars on the side advising a company that sold surveillance technology that repressive governments used to monitor activists and journalists. [HuffPo]

Jefferson District Court judges too often allow cases to be delayed without good reason, creating unnecessary courthouse trips for witnesses, victims and defendants, according to a study of the busiest court in the state. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. immigration authorities have arrested and moved to deport 199 Iraqi immigrants, mostly from the Detroit area, in the last three weeks after Iraq agreed to accept deportees as part of a deal removing it from President Donald Trump’s travel ban, officials said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Months after the Estill County Jail was forced to close due to safety issues, Jailer Bo Morris says everything is “about the same.” To his knowledge, there have been no moves to reopen the facility, however, he said the jail is getting a new transport van to haul prisoners to and from outside detention facilities holding its inmates. [Richmond Register]

Before he was named Trump’s health secretary, Price took a congressional trip to Australia and pressed officials to extend protections for drug companies in an international trade agreement. [ProPublica]

The City of Ashland may hire a spokesperson to answer citizen concerns more efficiently and handle its website and social media accounts. [Ashland Independent]

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, as part of the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to officials familiar with the matter. [WaPo]

There sure are some fascinating things happening in Morehead, according to its messy mayor. [The Morehead News]

Watergate prosecutors had evidence that operatives for then-President Richard Nixon planned an assault on anti-war demonstrators in 1972, including potentially physically attacking Vietnam whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, according to a never-before-published memo obtained by NBC News. [NBC News]

The average cost of a four-year degree in Kentucky will be more than $39,000 this fall after state regulators approved tuition increases at most of the state’s public universities. All but two schools asked for the maximum increase allowed by the Council on Postsecondary Education. The University of Louisville did not raise tuition, and Kentucky State University’s board of trustees has not had a meeting yet to ask for an increase. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee. [BBC]

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted Friday to approve a land swap with a private developer that could potentially create two new mixed-use developments and give UK a key block of land near its campus. [H-L]

The insurance industry’s annual confab last week was supposed to be a dry, stoic affair. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin’s Got To Be The Whiniest Person In Frankfort & That’s Saying A Lot Since Damon Thayer Exists

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Bye, Felicia! A Lexington business owner was ordered Thursday to serve 65 months in federal prison for his role in a bribery scandal that tarnished former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. Samuel C. McIntosh, 58, paid $854,701 in kickbacks from 2011 to 2015 to get work for his company, MC Squared Consulting, in a scheme with Tim Longmeyer, who was Beshear’s Personnel Cabinet secretary, and Larry O’Bryan, a Democratic political consultant in Louisville. [John Cheves]

A U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near U.S. backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State militants. [HuffPo]

Snowflake alert! Matt Bevin tells people to come straight to his social media accounts for all they need to know about what he’s up to, but he doesn’t mention that he’ll block you if he doesn’t like what you say. [C-J/AKN]

Six current and former Michigan and Flint officials were criminally charged on Wednesday for their roles in the city’s water crisis that was linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that caused at least 12 deaths, the state’s attorney general said. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin re-issued an executive order late Friday afternoon altering several education boards, just as his attorneys indicated he’d do in a letter earlier this week to Attorney General Andy Beshear. [Ronnie Ellis]

As elected officials increasingly turn to social media to communicate with constituents, some are blocking those who disagree with them. Some say it violates the First Amendment. Legislators say it’s about promoting a “healthy, civil dialogue.” Expect court battles ahead. [ProPublica]

The owners of Big Run Landfill want to push the deadline to build a gas plant back a year, but a local environmental coalition isn’t ready to budge yet. [Ashland Independent]

Aides and volunteers on Donald Trump’s presidential transition were instructed Thursday to save any records related to “several pending investigations into potential attempts by Russia interests to influence the 2016 election,” according to a memo obtained by POLITICO. [Politico]

Let’s stop acting as if anyone but Greg Stumbo ever had any respect for Johnny Bell. And he only respected him because they were birds of a feather. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Nearly everywhere Paul Manafort went, it seemed, Rick Gates followed, his protégé and junior partner. Election campaigns in Eastern Europe and Africa. Business ventures with a Russian tycoon. The upper ranks of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign. [NY Times]

It’s been 13 years since Jeremy Scott Martin died from severe head injuries he received while attending his 10-year Glasgow High School reunion. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Are Republicans prepared for the possibility that President Trump’s abuses of power could continue their slide to depths of madness or autocracy that make the current moment look relatively tame by comparison? [WaPo]

HELL YES IT WAS WORTH IT! Now people finally see that the entire UofL junta – from Jim Ramsey to Rick Pitino – are nasty, vindictive, entitled jackasses. Katina Powell said Saturday that she is “so sorry” about the fallout of the sex scandal that resulted in sanctions against Louisville’s basketball program, but added that her experience was “worth surviving.” [H-L]

Iraqi forces began storming the Islamic State-held Old City of Mosul on Sunday, an assault they hope will be the last in the eight-month campaign to seize the militants’ stronghold. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Continues To Embarrass KY

Nearly two years after rejecting requests to remove a controversial statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Kentucky’s Capitol Rotunda, a state panel that promised to produce educational materials to help put the statue in historical context is only now beginning its work. [H-L]

Donald Trump, apparently confirming his disregard for the risks of global climate change, reportedly told the mayor of a small Chesapeake Bay island that could soon disappear to erosion and rising seas that there’s no cause for concern. Trump phoned James “Ooker” Eskridge, the mayor of Tangier, Virginia, on Monday, a few days after CNN aired a story about the impacts of climate change on the island in the middle of the bay, The Daily Times in Salisbury, Maryland, reports. Trump “said not to worry about sea-level rise,” Eskridge told the newspaper. “He said, ‘Your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.’” [HuffPo]

Dan Johnson is just gross. Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green told council leadership that fellow Democrat Dan Johnson groped her and then laughed about it last week. [C-J/AKN]

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended to President Donald Trump reducing the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, according to a copy of the recommendation seen by Reuters on Monday. [Reuters]

Matt Bevin is right that we’re mocking him and that we hate god. We hate HIS god – a hateful, vengeful, racist, homophobic, hates-the-poor god. He’s so out-of-touch that he has no idea law enforcement, religious leaders, Republicans, Democrats and even members of his own staff are criticizing his idiocy. [WFPL]

At a meeting in March, a lead analyst in the VA’s compensation service was critical of the media, scientists and the VA’s own administrative tribunal for taking positions that differ from his. The VA said his comments “did not fully or accurately reflect VA’s position” but also said his quotes were being taken out of context. [ProPublica]

While heroin and other opioids continue to draw headlines and the attention of political figures, methamphetamine has made a comeback in Madison County. [Richmond Register]

In a new legal challenge to Trump, Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that his failure to shed his private businesses has undermined public trust and violated constitutional bans against self-dealing. [NY Times]

Children in Boyd County are being fed this summer through meal programs at several sites. [Ashland Independent]

Seems like a good time to revisit this. The lawyer gave Donald Trump a note, written in Trump’s own handwriting. He asked Trump to read it aloud. Trump may not have realized it yet, but he had walked into a trap. [WaPo]

State revenues were up in May over last year but probably not enough to head off a likely budget shortfall for the fiscal year which ends June 30. [Ronnie Ellis]

Rand Paul was in the cage waiting for one more turn at the plate when shots rand down on the field, hitting Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and at least four other people. [The Hill]

A Pikeville psychologist was convicted Monday of taking part in a massive disability fraud scheme in Eastern Kentucky. [H-L]

Donald Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, opening the door for future troop increases requested by the U.S. commander. [HuffPo]

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All Eyes Are On The Racist Elf Today

A person claiming to be high-profile fugitive Eric C. Conn told the Herald-Leader in an email that he had assistance escaping home detention on June 2. [H-L]

Donald Trump fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara the day after the prosecutor refused to return a call from him, Bharara said on ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday. Bharara said he viewed direct contact from the president to himself, as a law-enforcement official, to be an inappropriate breach of protocol and reported it to the office of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 9. “Twenty-two hours later, I was fired,” Bharara said. [HuffPo]

Attorney General Andy Beshear said Monday that his office is exploring whether the audit of the U of L Foundation shows crimes occurred. [C-J/AKN]

A second federal appeals court has ruled against Trump’s revised travel ban. The decision on Monday, from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, was the latest in a string of court rulings rejecting the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. [NY Times]

Local attorney and former state Rep. Johnny Bell and a another person were arrested Sunday afternoon and each charged with fourth-degree assault (minor injury) after the Kentucky State Police was dispatched to Bell’s Barren County residence, according to KSP citations. [Glasgow Daily Times]

These are the terrorists you should fear, New Republicans, not people with brown skin. A Florida woman who believed that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school was a hoax was sentenced to five months in prison this week for threatening the father of six-year-old Noah Pozner, one of the 20 young victims who died in the shooting. [The Guardian]

The Morehead State University Board of Regents approved the revision of two tenure policies during Thursday’s quarterly meeting. [The Morehead News]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee for an open hearing Tuesday, the committee has announced. [The Hill]

A recent grant awarded to Louisa will be used to put the city’s long-awaited riverwalk project in motion. The grant of $312,200 in federal funds was announced last week by the governor’s office. The walkway is part of Louisa’s “Rediscover Louisa” plan that focuses on renovating the city. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a gender distinction in U.S. immigration law that treats mothers and fathers differently when determining a child’s citizenship, calling such inequality “stunningly anachronistic.” [Reuters]

Luke Keith Jr., a graduate of Madison Central High School and Eastern Kentucky University, who served as publisher of newspapers in Laurel and Perry counties, died May 31 in Hazard. He was 72. [Richmond Register]

It’s called grift and Republicans are the kings of scamming their way to wealth. From Mitch McConnell to Donald Trump, it’s in their blood. [WaPo]

Corrupt jackass Kent Downey has died and taken his secrets with him. Kent Downey, a former state legislative aide who was at the center of a sex and gambling scandal, has died. He was 66. [H-L]

The Pentagon is distancing itself from Donald Trump over remarks he made on the United States’ relationship with Qatar. [HuffPo]

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Trumpublican Machine Continues To Crumble

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Surprise! Matt Bevin’s friend is eligible for monstrous tax breaks for selling that mansion to the halfwit governor at a loss. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s eldest son seemed to confirm fired FBI director James Comey’s testimony that the president requested Comey end the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials, contradicting his father’s repeated denials. [HuffPo]

Told ya so (about the Ramsey crew) a decade ago. Oh, huge note: If you can afford to hire Ann Oldfather and need to hire her? Well, you know what they say about smoke… In a devastating portrait of mismanagement and deceit, a long-awaited forensic audit of the once free-wheeling University of Louisville Foundation said it wasted money on worthless real estate investments and startups as well as football tickets and bowl games. [C-J/AKN]

It wasn’t just what ex-FBI director James Comey told senators about the lead-up to Donald Trump firing him over his Russia investigation. It was what he intimated, suggested, winked, and implied about possible ties between Team Trump and the Kremlin. [TDB]

The Madison County Health Board approved policies Wednesday that will govern the syringe exchange program for intravenous drug users, clearing the way for the health department to begin exchanges by early July. [Richmond Register]

Before he became Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen worked on behalf of a company controlled by another wealthy and well-connected man: Viktor Topolov, a politician whose associates are members of the Russian and Ukrainian underworld. [BuzzFeed]

The Ashland commission approved over $300,000 in payments, established a list of ethics principles, finalized a committee to re-design Judd Plaza and heard from local residents concerned about the local bus system and deer population in a brief Thursday meeting. [Ashland Independent]

We’re looking at you, ignorant, delusional Republican Party of Kentucky members. Kansas’ collapsed tax-cut plan will provide political fodder for Democrats for decades. [WaPo]

The Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development and Economic Authority board of directors decided Friday to offer a $30,000 incentive package to a company that is considering locating a new business in Barren County – not within an incorporated city. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump, who often says he only likes winners, tells one grand tale of loss: In 1990, he nearly went bankrupt and was forced to ask dozens of banks to whom he owed money to change the terms on their loans and forgive some of his debts. [Reuters]

Morehead State University’s Board of Regents approved a $152.2 million operating budget during its quarterly meeting held Thursday, June 8. The budget is an increase of $1.3 million or 0.9 percent for the 2017-18 academic year. The budget also includes a 4.92 percent tuition increase for undergraduate and graduate students along with a 6.2 percent increase in student housing. [The Morehead News]

NPR journalists David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna died a year ago this week, ambushed on a remote road in southern Afghanistan while on a reporting assignment traveling with the Afghan National Army. Since their deaths, NPR has been investigating what happened, and today we are sharing new information about what we learned. It’s a very different story from what we originally understood. [NPR]

If VHS put in some effort, crap like this wouldn’t occur because sunlight would kill it. But she won’t. So don’t hold your breath. [H-L]

The Trump Justice Department is banning federal attorneys from reaching settlements in criminal and civil cases that direct defendants to give money to third-party organizations, a practice that Republicans criticized during the Obama administration. [HuffPo]

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Vultures = Metaphor For New Republicans

The idea of black vultures turning predatory might sound like the plot of a low-budget horror film, but to Kentucky farmers trying to protect calving cows, that horror has become all too real in recent years. Now it appears farmers are fighting back against the federally protected migratory birds in a big way. [H-L]

The anti-Muslim white supremacist charged with murdering two men in Portland, Oregon, when they intervened in his bigoted tirade at two teenagers is the kind of extremist that former Department of Homeland Security official Daryl Johnson worried about. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville’s endowment — managed by the beleaguered U of L Foundation — lost about 6 percent of its value last year. [C-J/AKN]

Germany’s largest bank has failed to respond to a request from Democrats on a U.S. House of Representatives panel for details about U.S. President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia, a Democratic staffer said on Sunday. [Reuters]

You can thank bigots like Matt Bevin and other twits in the Republican Party of Kentucky (we’re looking at you, self-hating Julie Raque Adams) for Kentucky’s disastrous economy. While state officials are touting 2017 as a record-breaking year for business investments, a new study ranked Kentucky the third worst state for jobs. [Richmond Register]

Lee Francis Cissna, President Trump’s nominee to head the federal agency that handles applications for visas, refugee status and citizenship, has put little on the public record in his 20 years as a lawyer, government employee, diplomat and Capitol Hill aide. [ProPublica]

A plan to build a pavilion, or another multiuse structure, in downtown Ashland that would shelter local farmers and artisans and be used for special events is “in the works,” according to Mayor Steve Gilmore. [Ashland Independent]

As the country — and Washington in particular — borders on near-obsession over whether affiliates of Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Kremlin to swing the 2016 presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials say Moscow’s espionage ground game is growing stronger and more brazen than ever. [Politico]

Only one person spoke during a public hearing Thursday morning regarding the financing of the new Metcalfe County Government Center. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the June 7, 1942, edition of the Chicago Sunday Tribune trumpeted news of a stunning American victory over a Japanese armada at the Battle of Midway. [WaPo]

Last week, church leaders from West Louisville and beyond packed into a public school auditorium to hear Gov. Matt Bevin’s ideas for how to stop a surge of violent crime in the neighborhood. [WFPL]

What will end racism in the United States? Certainly not modern/New Republicans. [BBC]

Frustrated by complaints of shoddy customer service and the recent layoffs of 56 employees, Lexington city officials want Spectrum executives to come to city hall to discuss the city’s mounting concerns about the cable company. [H-L]

Over 63 years after Brown v. Board of Education made state-sanctioned school segregation illegal and set off a wave of controversial efforts to diversify districts, many schools have settled back into old patterns. Although the law no longer endorses it, schools are still divided along fault lines of race and class. [HuffPo]

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Surprise! The Mt. Sterling Paper Noticed The School District’s Paid Out A Ton In Settlements

Too little, too late, really. And they only got part of the story correct.

Here’s a taste from the Mt. Sterling Advocate – May 25, 2017:

Former Montgomery County Schools’ employee Kelly Wallace has reached a $500,000 settlement in a lawsuit against former superintendent Josh Powell and the Montgomery County Board of Education.

-SNIP-

As part of the settlement the defendants in the suit “neither admit nor deny liability of any sort.” The release of all claims “is made as a compromise to avoid expenses and to terminate all controversy and/or claims for injuries or damages of whatsoever kind, nature, known or unknown,” the settlement states.

The parties agree to bear their own costs.

-SNIP-

She claimed to have suffered loss of wages and benefit, embarrassment, humiliation and mental and emotional distress.

There’s this gem at the end of the article:

The school district previously settled two other cases with former employees. Former childcare worker Jennifer Hall settled a lawsuit for $140,000 against the district, Powell and former director of childcare Kristi Carter. Former athletic director Gene Heffington received $150,000 for a “release of all claims.” He had not filed a lawsuit.

That’s how you know Tom Marshall and the paper didn’t put in much reporting effort.

Montgomery County Schools have paid out waaaay more than two settlements involving Joshua Powell.

Combined with Kelly Wallace, Montgomery County Schools has paid out a total of six monstrous settlements. Five of them I’ve reported on extensively since 2013. Another involved a mysterious school bus incident. It’s one that Alice Anderson, the board chair, once told me she didn’t believe was legitimate and was part of a cover-up. The board attorney loosely conveyed the same sentiment. As did people in Powell’s circle.

Once Jim Dusso settles (he will – he’s not ever going to be able to hold those corrupt fuckers accountable otherwise), that’ll make seven. Not to mention prior settlements in Powell’s previous school districts. Kentucky taxpayers, via insurance and other means, have been on the hook for millions upon millions of dollars.

Funny how that paper still can’t be bothered to do real reporting on the biggest and most expensive scandal to hit Montgomery County in decades. People there deserve better. It’s been gut-wrenching to watch those folks suffer – even as they went out of their way to help me report on one of the most insane scandals in the state. They’ve suffered. The local newspaper couldn’t be bothered to hold any of the powerful accountable. Just left everyone in the dark. Half-assed their way along.

Also hear a certain education reporter at the Herald-Leader has decided to do a bit on the settlements. So you can expect that to be just shy of mediocre. Can’t exactly claim credibility or generate interest in developing sources after deliberately ignoring the nightmare for nearly five years. If I could do it with no resources and for year after year? That reporter has no excuse. They, too, have failed Central Kentuckians who deserve better.

Now that I’ve had time to process the Montgomery County-Joshua Powell disaster and most of those involved have received some form of settlement? I’m ready to start sharing all the things (yes, all the things) I’ve never before published. So look for that in the coming months. Everything from recordings that the plaintiffs never released to emails from myriad characters to video of those responsible for the scandal(s).

A note to attorneys and school board members: Better get your Xanax and Klonopin refilled. Always told you I was a man of my word and would release everything when victims got justice. True to that word, the time has come.

Now for a shameless plug.

Want to see more years-long digging and reporting that results in real change in Kentucky? Here’s how:





You’ll help pay for open records requests, part of the hosting fees (let’s get real – there aren’t enough donations to cover that beast) and for postage.

When you shop via Amazon or sign up for Cricket, you help cover the expense of getting smartphones temporarily into the hands of sources who need to securely communicate without fear of retribution. That’s how I accomplished most of the work in Montgomery County. When you buy these silly magnets (they look better in real life!), you’re doing the same. You aren’t giving *me* money.

P.S. Matt Bevin finally reorganized the Education Professional Standards Board via executive order and he DESERVES PRAISE for it. Click here to access basic details – pages 7 and 8. More on that in the coming days. Note: What doesn’t deserve praise is Bevin’s decision to make EPSB actions appealable to the Kentucky Department of Education, which is a step back to pre-2000. That is a disaster waiting to happen and KDE has NO BUSINESS meddling with EPSB. Other than that, though, EPSB needed to be gutted and flushed.