“Shoveling out the Barn”
Part 1 Exclusive Interview with Gov. Bevin
*Click on the link below to watch clips of the video that pertain to this discussion
By Scotty Dennis
“We’re shoveling out the barn in the spring time. It’s been generations of stuff piling up in the barn and we’re 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 were determined according to who was giving money to their political causes. Bevin exclaimed this was not unique to Kentucky, nor was 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 how he has seen such actions in our community as well. “As a community newspaper publisher I have seen prominent individuals come to town, have three or four 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.”
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 specifics so that his team could verify these accusations, rather than walk away with a “just trust 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. Scribed in this book was many names, along with various dollar amounts. A donor list was discovered under a bookshelf belonging to the former Governor Steve Beshear. In August, year 2017, Jobe Publishing obtained a copy of this heavily padded directory. An honest curiosity brought Jobe to find a section of this index providing the names of former board members that had been appointed by Democrat Governor Steve Beshear. Their political contributions to him and the Democratic party were listed in detail. Directly from the book, here are some names and numbers: 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 former Governor would speak with a person with interest in sitting on a board, 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 board, never because someone was pressured to contribute 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 they both know to be good people serving on many boards today because of their accomplishments and desire to help Kentucky.
Bevin was asked for specifics that might help make the point. He said, “ the Horse Racing Commission”. Bevin said he appointed Pat Day, and he is a tremendous example. Patrick Alan “Pat” Day 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 needs an appointment.”
He 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 it is just 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 he 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 reverted 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.”
He said, “Kentucky deserves nothing less.”