By Scotty Dennis
A Jobe Team Exclusive
“We’re shoveling out the barn in the spring time. It’s been generations of stuff piling up in the barn and were shoveling it out. The next governor will ride the pony, but we’re not in the pony-riding stage of the government,” remarked Governor Matt Bevin to Jeff Jobe Publisher of Jobe Publishing while in a personal meeting at the State Capitol Building.
In November, Jobe and his team set out for Frankfort to join Governor Bevin in a personal meeting to, not only ask tough questions, but to record and reveal the true responses to questions asked by Jobe. Jobe said, “Governor we want to do more than most; we want to allow you to explain your position thoroughly.”
After the initial formalities between the Jobe team and Governor Bevin, along with members of his staff, Governor Bevin began to discuss the undertones of corruption. Buying appointed seats on the most prominent state boards has been seemingly imperative. In order to sit on a board for the bigger Universities such as U of L, or the Horse Racing Commission, the people appointed depended on who was giving money to their political causes.
Bevin exclaimed that it is not unique to Kentucky for this to be a common occurrence, nor is it unique to America. He said, “Corruption in politics has long existed, but there was and has been a culture in our state of pay to play.” Jobe shared that he has seen it in our communities as well. “As a community newspaper publisher I have seen high ranking individuals come to town, have a few meetings, and walk out with several $10,000 checks.” Jobe proclaimed to Bevin, “I know, without a doubt, that these checks would grease palms and what is most sad is our own people helped make it possible. Those who thrive in this environment are loyal to no cause other than themselves.
According to Bevin, during these years the powerful continued to grow as they used their money to influence decisions in their favor. Jobe asked for a specific so that his team could verify rather than walk away with a just truest me statement.
Bevin said he could name several but perhaps one of the most corrupt was the University of Louisville Board. “The U of L Board in 2015 had given $750,000 to Democrats and democratic causes, in one calendar year.”
When Governor Bevin was elected into office his administration found a book with more than 500 pages. Pages and pages of names, amounts and communities in which they made their donations was documented. It was discovered under a bookshelf in the offices belonging to the former Governor Steve Beshear. In August, year 2017, Jobe Publishing obtained a copy of this heavily padded directory.
Jobe knew he had the book and when the board was identified his staff searched their names to find their amounts contributed. Bevin’s statement was proven to be factual.
The following individuals were appointed by Democratic Governor, Steve Beshear, and these amounts were attributed to them for giving to his campaign or the Democrat party.
Marie Abrams, 14 contributions, $10,500
Robert P. Benson Jr., 10 contributions, $10,000
Laurence Benz, 17 contributions, $60,500
Emily Bingham, 14 contributions, $26,000
Jonathan Blue, 18 contributions, $99,500
Ron Butt, 9 contributions totaling $17,700
Stephen Campbell, 5 contributions, $9,000
Paul Diaz, 11 contributions totaling $21,500
Craig Greenberg, 16 contributions, $47,500
Douglas Hall, 10 contributions, $15,000
Larry Hayes, 12 contributions, $17,500
Bruce Henderson, 15 contributions, $31,500
Robert C. Hughes, 15 contributions, $41,000
Brucie Moore, 23 contributions, $91,384
Jody Prather, 12 contributions, $12,500
Robert W. Rounsavall III, 14 contributions, $36,700
Steve Wilson, 35 contributions, $230,000
Bevin explained a situation in which the Governor would speak with a person who had interest and then have a member of his administration follow up later literally as some sort of debt collection. He stated it like this, “Hey, you know the Governor said you were interested in such and such board. Well we haven’t gotten your check yet. If you could send that in for $10,000, $15,000…” This requisition is what would attain someone’s seat on these, highly, sought-after, state boards. Some may refer to this as “the buddy system” or “rubbing elbows.”
Bevin shared that he has focused on putting sound experience and skill sets together for all state boards and never because someone was pressured to contributed to anyone’s political campaign. He said, “Sadly, I wish it were only one party, but true for both. Yet, because one party has controlled state politics for so long, they have these type individuals deeply imbedded.”
Jobe and Bevin discussed several individuals from South Central Kentucky, in which they both knew to be good people serving on many boards today because of their accomplishments and desire to help Kentucky.
Bevin was asked for a specific that might help make the point. He said, “…The Horse Racing Commission”. Bevin said he appointed Pat Day and he is a tremendous example. An online biography for Pat Day says he is an American jockey, four-time winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey, and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991. Governor Bevin said, “Pat Day is well respected, he is someone who can represent the jockeys, trainers, breeders and owners. He is involved in the industry and not someone who greased my wheels or someone’s kid who needed an appointment.”
We went on to share a conversation between two newly appointed Horse Racing Commission members. One said to the other, “I didn’t know you were a Bevin person. I didn’t… I wasn’t… I didn’t give to Bevin, did you? No. Then how did we get on this board?” Bevin explained, this is how it was done and people accepted it. He said, “The 14 people that sat in on that meeting had never given one cent to anything I had ran for.”
Bevin closed this topic by saying, “For every cabinet-level person and for people on boards, I want three things: people of good character, people who are competent, and people committed to serving the Commonwealth and people of the state.”
Bevin shifted back to the question Jobe had asked in the beginning of the meeting, “What have you accomplished or you’re proud of?” Bevin said, “We’re changing people’s perception of who we are in Kentucky.” He continued saying, “That is a mindset that will take not only one term, two terms, and so forth, but 15 to 20 years, a full generation.”