State News in Brief


Records show illegal contributions went to Beshear, Conway

LEXINGTON (AP) — Newly released court documents show that former Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer, who pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge, arranged for illegal campaign donations to Andy Beshear, who was elected attorney general, and Jack Conway, who lost his bid to become governor.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports a judge unsealed the records Tuesday at the newspaper’s request.

An affidavit states there’s no indication that the candidates were aware of the scheme.

The records show Beshear received at least three $1,000 donations and Conway received at least two $1,000 donations.

Court documents indicate the money came from a scheme Longmeyer had with Lexington-based MC Squared Consulting, which gave him kickbacks in exchange for help securing contracts with two insurers. The company’s owner has not been charged and his listed phone numbers are disconnected.

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UK employee fired, accused of defrauding school of $224K

LEXINGTON (AP) — University of Kentucky officials have accused a former employee of defrauding the school of more than $220,000 since 2011.

Citing a UK Board of Trustees report released Tuesday, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Steven Ellis, a former business manager in the physics and astronomy department, was suspended last spring and was fired in September.

University officials say Ellis sold more than $137,000 of university equipment on eBay and misappropriated $87,000 in royalty revenues.

UK began investigating Ellis last spring after he was reported by another employee. The investigation has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Authorities say Ellis had two storage units in which dozens of university items, including computers and projectors, were being held.

Attorney Fred Peters, who is representing Ellis, declined to comment on the case.

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Harmon announces review of Kentucky Horse Park

FRANKFORT (AP) — State Auditor Mike Harmon says his office will review operations and financial activities at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Harmon said Tuesday the special examination will review fiscal years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The review was requested by state Sen. Damon Thayer, Finance Cabinet Secretary William Landrum III and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Don Parkinson.

The park’s executive director, Jamie Link, says he would welcome such an audit.

Link told lawmakers earlier this year that he inherited “a mess” when he took the job in late 2014. Link was deputy chief of staff to then-Gov. Steve Beshear when he was selected for the horse park job.

Gov. Matt Bevin recently removed Horse Park Commission chairwoman Alston Kerr from her unexpired term and replaced her with Louisville attorney Tandy Patrick.

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Ireland Army Hospital limiting new surgeries starting June 1

FORT KNOX (AP) — Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox says it will begin limiting new surgery cases starting next month.

The hospital says the change is due to operating room staffing changes and the impact on maintaining safe, quality care. Cesarean sections and all currently scheduled surgeries will continue, but no new surgeries will be scheduled after June 1.

The hospital is scheduled to become an outpatient clinic and will end inpatient and emergency services by Dec. 15. The hospital said that could happen sooner if staffing becomes an issue.

The hospital said in a news release that service members and TRICARE beneficiaries will continue to have inpatient and surgical care needs met by central Kentucky community health partners.

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Man sentenced to 40 years in Richmond couple’s 2010 deaths

RICHMOND (AP) — A former Eastern Kentucky University student has been sentenced to 40 years in prison in the kidnapping and murder of a Richmond couple in 2010.

Media report Daniel Keene apologized before he was sentenced Tuesday, saying he was “truly and eternally sorry” for the killings of 30-year-old Sonsarary Warford and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Charles DeMarcus Walker, whose bodies were found buried in a Richmond field four years ago.

Keene pleaded guilty in March to murder, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, burglary and tampering with evidence.

Keene told police he dug the grave while co-defendant Matt Denholm tortured and executed Warford and Walker. Denholm pleaded guilty in 2014 to the deaths and to an unrelated murder and was sentenced to life without parole for 25 years.

An affidavit in the case said Walker was targeted in a contract killing.

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Dentist, former Barren Co. magistrate pleads guilty

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — Dentist and former Barren County magistrate Christopher Steward has pleaded guilty to distributing controlled substances outside the course of his medical practice.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Dr. Christopher Steward of Cave City conspired with patients to acquire controlled substances. The prosecutor’s office said Steward also admitted that he defrauded Medicaid to acquire a controlled medication without the patient’s knowledge.

He pleaded guilty Tuesday to seven counts of knowingly and intentionally distributing and dispensing controlled substances outside the course of his practice and health care fraud. The government will ask that a charge of identity theft be dismissed.

A news release from the prosecutor’s office said it would seek a sentence of 18 months to 30 months.

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SIG SAUER to move ammunition plant to Ark. from Ky.

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — New Hampshire-based SIG SAUER has announced plans to move an ammunition plant to Arkansas from Kentucky.

The company said Wednesday in a news release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission that its Elite Performance Ammunition plant will move to Jacksonville and create about 50 jobs when it opens by the end of the year. The plant is currently located in Eubank, Kentucky.

The company will move into an existing building in Jacksonville that SIG SAUR Ammunition Division President Dan Powers says provides room to expand and is well located for shipping. Powers said the state also provided undisclosed economic incentives to bring the plant to Arkansas.

SIG SAUER designs and manufactures firearms, ammunition, silencers, optics, airguns and accessories.

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Feds end probe into Bowling Green police minority hiring

BOWLING GREEN (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has told city officials in Bowling Green, Kentucky, it has ended its investigation into minority hiring practices at the city’s police department.

News outlets report that Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said at a news conference Tuesday that the investigation’s closing indicates federal officials found nothing out of the ordinary.

The Justice Department began examining the police department’s hiring practices last summer, since just 5.3 percent of police personnel were black in a city with a 13.9 percent black population.

Wilkerson says the investigation spurred the city to have a police force that’s more representative of the community. Wilkerson says Bowling Green is no long using a specific written test the city’s analysis showed was disqualifying a disproportionately high number of minority candidates.

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Humana profit falls on Aetna deal costs, tops expectations

NEW YORK (AP) — Humana, saddled with the enormous costs from its tie-up with rival health insurer Aetna Inc., reported a 46 percent decline first-quarter profit, though it still topped most expectations.

Revenue also fell slightly to $13.8 billion, thought that also edged out Wall Street projections, according to a poll Zacks Investment Research.

The $34 billion deal between Humana and Aetna was among the biggest of 2015, a year that was unparalleled in the value and pace of mergers and acquisitions. Nowhere was that activity more brisk than in health care, with companies repositioning themselves and growing to accommodate vast changes under the Obama administration’s overhaul of the nation’s health care system.

Largely due to Humana’s buyout by Aetna, profits fell to $234 million, or $1.56 per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $1.86 per share, which was a nickel better than Wall Street had been projecting, according to Zacks.

The Louisville, Kentucky’s company retail segment, which sells Medicare Advantage and other plans, had a 2 percent revenue boost to $11.84 billion, mainly on an increase in membership for Medicare offerings. Its group segment, which consists of employer plans and specialty health insurance benefits, fell 2 percent to $1.81 billion, mainly on a decline in membership.

If approved by regulators this year, the deal between Aetna and Humana will create the country’s second-largest managed care company.

For the current quarter, Humana expects its per-share earnings to be $2.15, which was lower than the $2.24 that analysts were expecting.

Shares fell about 2 percent before the opening bell Wednesday.

Yet the company projected full-year earnings of $8.85 per share, which is stronger than Wall Street’s per-share projections of $8.73

Shares of Humana Inc. have decreased almost 1 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased almost 5 percent in the last 12 months.

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