Wasted Money at Western Kentucky University

Man, the high-dollar swindling of higher education is rampant!

A probe at Western Kentucky University has revealed that former professor Katrina Phelps could have swindled $33,000 from federal grants totaling more than $4.8 million. Though, that $33K amount could change as the investigation moves along.

The FBI would neither confirm nor deny any investigations involving Phelps, said James Hendricks, senior supervisory agent at the FBI in Bowling Green.

In July 2007, a former WKU student reported concerns regarding possible fraud in two federally funded community outreach programs, according to WKU documents. The programs provided structured activities for at-risk youth during out-of-school hours.
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The U.S. Department of Justice removed Phelps as the ALIVE Center’s contact on grants on Oct. 25 and Phelps was removed from all ALIVE Center duties Nov. 2. She subsequently turned in her resignation Nov. 8 and formally left WKU in December.
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WKU declined open records requests for additional information involving its internal investigation of allegations against Phelps or for copies of the audits done by the university, saying that those records have been part of a subpoena by the FBI.

“The university declines to release any related records because the records are being and have been compiled in the process of detecting and investigating statutory violations, and the disclosure of the information would harm the agency by revealing, prematurely, information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action,” Wilkins wrote.

Anyone else experiencing a bit of deja vu?

When will higher education in Kentucky end this era of corruption?

Oh Snap Monday! Fancy Farm Is Recent History

Some dude tried to give Mitch McConnell a banana and a State Trooper wrestled him to the ground. [Ronnie Ellis]

Fancy Farm was boring and the speeches sucked. Young Republicans are brainwashed into believing something McConnell made up. Young Democrats were unimpressive– like the person in the Dalmatian costume (wearing a McConnell mask) who pretended to fellate a “Texas Oil Man.” Totally unclassy. [H-L]

Even Larry Dale Keeling made everything sound kind of boring.  Because it obviously was.  Maybe next year when nothing is going on it’ll be more exciting? [KY Kurmudgeon]

Dirty blogger Ben Ray got into a story about Fancy Farm in the State Journal and DIDN’T EVEN MENTION HIS WEBSITE! What! Why on earth would you talk about something serious when you have a website to promote? [State Journal]

Goodness! How many stories are going to be written about Wes and his Trey Grayson t-shirt? Is this all somebody has to do to get free press? [Daily Independent]

Jack Brammer has a decent round-up of the best parts of Fancy Farm. [H-L]

Jefferson Poole has some great photos from the event. Mostly of Republicans. [BGRS]

Mark Hebert’s details of this year’s picnic are pretty interesting. McConnell didn’t impress, Steve Beshear gave a fancy speech, McConnell campaign video guy outsmarted, old dude with a banana, most boring Fancy Farm ever. [Hebert]

Read the juicy non-Fancy Farm updates after the jump…

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NKY Dem Party Chair’s Home Raided After Alleged Child Sex Chat About Spanking Little Girls

Haha, yeah, so, jacked up and weird story… so much for that slow news day.

Campbell County Democratic Party Chair Ken Mullikin’s home was raided by Fort Thomas police after someone at his home allegedly took part in a kiddie sex chat on the internets.

We can’t even comment. Wow. Just check this Enquirer story out:

Fort Thomas police launched an investigation after being contacted by the FBI. Federal agents claim someone using an IP address – a unique signature for an individual computer – from Mullikin’s home was chatting online about sexually molesting girls, according to an affidavit used to obtain the search warrant.

Someone from that IP address logged onto a chat room under the sign-on name “MomJane” and asked an FBI agent posing as a child molester if they had “ever spanked a very young one,” according to the affidavit. The agent is based in Maryland and monitors chat rooms in which people advertise access to child pornography.

The person using the screen name “MomJane” claimed to be a woman and chatted about how she and her husband had each abused a 4-year-old girl, according to the affidavit. Some of the chat described graphic sex acts with girls ages 3 to 4.

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Campbell County Democratic Party officials were stunned at the news.

“This is a shock to all of us,” said labor leader Jim Cole of Campbell County, who had operated a political consulting business with Mullikin.

He said reporters covering the case knew more details than the party did on Tuesday afternoon.

“It is important to point out there are no charges,” Cole added. “But we’re dumbfounded over what happened.”

Tuesday Update Dept of Buy Us a MacBook Pro, 15″, Glossy, 4gigs of RAM OR ELSE!!!

David Boswell and Brett Guthrie are in a virtual dead heat according to the latest SurveyUSA polling data. Boswell leads Guthrie 47-44 with a 4.3% margin of error. Only 9% of likely voters say they’re undecided. The two are tied among males but females prefer Boswell, the Democrat, 48-42. [Mark Hebert]

A British invasion? The Jakals (from southern England) will be performing tonight in Louisville at the Rudyard Kipling at 8:00 P.M. Their first appearance was in our fancy pants hometown in middle of nowhere West Liberty, deep in the hills of eastern Kentucky. Turns out they’re actually using a company in West Liberty (!!) to distribute their CD here in the U.S. and A. [Jakals, Rudyard Kipling]

There’s still no word on whether or not Mitch McConnell plans to hire anyone from Kentucky to work on his campaign. If you missed it, his treasurer lives in Indiana, none of the contacts on his campaign’s Statement of Organization are in Kentucky and only one of the three banks his campaign uses is located in the Bluegrass State. [Page One]

Do you have AB positive or AB negative blood? Get your ass to the Chestnut Street Red Cross in Louisville ASAP. There is an emergency need for that particular type of plasma. Please specify that your donation is for C. Thomas Bennett at Baptist East. [Just Do It]

Editors at Bloomberg noted on Friday that U.S. stock declines were the worst since June… of 1930! The Great Depression! Yeah, little economic mix-up, my formerly fat ass! Basically, the world is effed and we’re all gonna die of the poverty. [Bloomberg]

Thanks to rising gas prices, the Kentucky State Police is cutting back on patrols. So this basically means you’re less safe as a direct result of the economy. But the free market will fix that, right? I can’t remember which right-wing spin is appropriate in this instance. And this isn’t just happening with the KSP. It’s across the board. [C-J]

More on the UofL/Felner Investigation

It just gets crazier and crazier.  Mainstream is using his photo, so we guess we’ll start doing the same.

The C-J reports (See that? We talk about where we get our stories from) that there’s an allegation that roughly $500,000 of federal grant money was mishandled by Felner. After speaking with our sources, we believe that’s $500,000 in question from more than one grant.  E.g., could be funds from a total of the $17million figure we gave you earlier.

Naturally, Felner’s attorney (Scott Cox, probably the best around and easily as powerful as Ann Oldfather) says he hasn’t mishandled anything.

Turns out the investigation is being conducted by The United States Postal Service, the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Which meshes with what we’ve heard from UofL officials.

What exactly would the USPS and Secret Service investigate? What sort of crimes do they usually handle? We know the USPS investigates everything from identity theft to child porn and money laundering when it involves the postal system. But we are not alleging anything. Repeat, that’s not an allegation. Just saying we know those are three areas of crimes usually investigated by the USPS.

So, folks, let’s discuss. What could Felner have (allegedly) done with UofL money that would involve the mail? I know, it’s any number of things. But would any number of things also require that the Secret Service get involved? Law enforcement readers: care to chime in?

UPDATE @ 10:47: According to the Kenosha News, Felner resigned his new position as University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor.

Hope to have more on this story tomorrow. Also, thanks for all of the comments, folks. And thanks for pointing out that the SS & USPS could be involved for any number of reasons. Some of which we hadn’t even thought of.

Federal Investigation at UofL – What’s Going On?

Remember that mysterious investigation at the University of Louisville that popped up last week? The one where TV crews flooded UofL’s campus only to report that they didn’t know anything? The investigation that the U.S. Attorney’s office admits is taking place?

Who could forget? Some dudes with guns loading dozens of boxes into black SUVs aren’t easily overlooked. Since UofL isn’t talking and everyone is batshiz nervous, we figured we’d raise some questions about what we’ve heard.

We know the offices that investigators were in were those of College of Education officials. Specifically, the office of Robert Felner, Dean of the school. (view Felner’s massive curriculum vitae here.) Felner, whose last day coincided with the arrival of investigators (conveniently after all of his boxes were packed and he was ready to jet), controls a massive No Child Left Behind grant worth about $12.5 million.

Now for the juicy rumor portion of the story. After the jump.

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