Whitesburg KY

Woman fined for using state job to get info on husband

A former state employee who lives in Jeremiah has been fined by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission for using her position to fraudulently obtain a subpoena for her then-husband’s cellphone records.

As part of an ethics settlement reached Monday, Liberty Campbell, a former probation and parole officer with the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, agreed to pay $1,500 to the Kentucky State Treasurer by November 7, a news release from the commission says.

The ethics code violation, which is not a criminal act, occurred some time between December 2011 and January 2012. Campbell was gathering information from Appalachian Wireless records for personal purposes unrelated to her job.

The commission’s investigation says Campbell informed her supervisor of the grand-jury subpoena 11 months later, only because she thought the conduct would be revealed.

Campbell received a public reprimand and waived any right to appeal.

The ethics commission fined four other former state employees this week, including a former assistant director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife accused of mistreating women.

Kenneth “Scott” King used his position “to create an oppressive and hostile atmosphere” by telling his female employees what parts of their body he and other male supervisors preferred, according to a news release from the ethics commission. King allegedly told some female employees to wear short skirts and high heels to meetings in order to get what they wanted and, in one case, told a female employee to show him her breasts.

King did not admit he did those things, but he did not contest them either, “recognizing that the evidence against him indicates” he committed them, according to a settlement agreement. He did admit to having the department fix a state-owned tractor that he broke while using it to improve some land he used for hunting.

The commission fined King $2,750 and publicly reprimanded him.

King is the eighth current or former Fish and Wildlife employee to be fined since January, according to John Steffen, the Ethics Commission’s executive director. Altogether, Fish and Wildlife employees have paid or agreed to pay $21,449 in fines.

Gil Lawson, a spokesman for the cabinet agency that includes Fish and Wildlife, declined to comment.

With about 500 employees and an annual budget of $52 million, the Fish and Wildlife Department gets most of its money from the sale of fishing and hunting licenses and a share of federal taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. The department has come under fire in recent years for corruption. Former Commissioner John Gassett resigned last September, three months before the state Inspector General reported the department’s leaders used state property and employees for their personal benefit.

The ethics commission fined Gassett $7,500 in March for nine counts of ethics violations, including ordering state workers to pump out the flooded basement of his house and using the state’s contract with FedEx to ship the skin of an alligator he had killed to a taxidermist in Georgia. Gassett’s attorney has said any mistakes were “unintentional and minor in scope.”

In May, the commission hired Gregory Johnson to lead the agency that regulates fishing and hunting in Kentucky. A 30- year veteran of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Johnson told The Associated Press shortly after his hire that the agency’s troubles were not “anything that we can’t move forward with and improve on and get headed in the right direction.”

Others fined by the ethics commission were:

• Jeffery Dean, a former mental health counselor who was fined $2,000 for falsifying records to reflect that he had counseled five juveniles when he never did.

• Brian Wright, a former maintenance superintendent at the Green River Youth Development Center who was fined $2,500 for using a state credit card to purchase $350 worth of personal items.

• Joseph “Lonnie” Culver, a recently retired deputy adjutant general who was fined $2,000 for using a Kentucky National Guard helicopter and vehicle to travel to inactive duty training. National Guard policy requires soldiers to pay their own way for inactive duty training.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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