Administrative Office of the Courts denies any wrongdoing in whistleblower accusations of mismanagement

10/26/2017 01:41 PM

FRANKFORT – An attorney for the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) denied any wrongdoing by his agency in a whistleblower law suit detailing multiple allegations of wrongdoing and mismanagement within the AOC.

The lawsuit was filed by Scott Brown, a former AOC manager who was fired from his position of deputy director of financial services on July 1, and alleges three areas of wrongdoing including: financial irregularities in payments to court-appointed attorneys in a Northern Kentucky county; the use of a certain heating and cooling company to perform millions of dollars worth of unauthorized maintenance at courthouses statewide; and improper use of state funding allocated to supreme court justices.

Frankfort attorney Paul Harnice told committee members on Thursday that while he could not comment on any specifics in the case, he denies any wrongdoing and questions the fact whether Brown fits the description of a whistleblower under Kentucky law.

“Mr. Brown has filed litigation in this matter alleging, and I want to emphasize that, that he’s a whistleblower as the term is defined in KRS 61.102, and I think in our society that the world in our society gets vehemently overused, but I can say unequivocally in this case, AOC vehemently disputes Mr. Brown’s claim, including his claim that he’s a whistleblower,” Harnice said. “Mr. Brown’s law suit is completely without merit and that the facts in this case will establish Mr. Brown is not, was not a whistleblower, and did not suffer any adverse employment actions as a result of any activity covered by Kentucky law.”

Committee co-Chair Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, says that it’s his job to try find out if any of the allegations of misconduct are true, especially with the 2018 budget on the horizon.

“I want to be very respectful of both the Court of Justice, they are another branch of government and I want to be very respectful of the court process, but we have to do our work,” Nemes said. “We have to get to the bottom of these allegations, not in the context of the law suit, but in the context of what did the documents say. Were there inappropriate expenditures and if so, we’ll let the data and the documents lead us to where we go.”

Nemes says the AOC has not submitted an official budget request, but it’s his understanding that those requests would include increases in salaries for the judges, elected clerks and all unelected officials along with money to provide upgrades in technology.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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