Audit of court operations yields numerous findings

07/12/2018 02:40 PM

FRANKFORT — An Audit of the Administrative Office of the Courts has found multiple instances of abuse, and what Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon describes as a culture of unchecked leadership.

Harmon detailed the findings of the exam into the operations, controls and policies of the AOC during a Wednesday news conference in Frankfort, detailing the 20 findings during the exam of AOC operations between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2017.

Auditors found issues with employee only property sales, lack of adequate policies and the leasing of office space from the company of the son of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Wright.

AOC’s management, in general, did not adequately monitor or oversee all areas of operations,” Harmon said.

Auditors have offered to work with AOC in employees and conduct training to avoid further issues, but Harmon said some of the policy recommendations made by the Auditor’s Office have been met with criticism from the AOC.

“Their dismissive attitude toward key recommendations, towards ethics and accountability — their particular attitude towards that really quite saddens me,” Harmon said. “To be honest with you, I expected better.”

Chief Justice John Minton did not attend Wednesday’s press conference, but did issue a statement.

“When the AOC requested this audit in May 2017, it was an unprecedented step that reversed more than 40 years of tradition in how the court system has handled external review,” Minton said. “While we are careful to safeguard the Judicial Branch as a separate and co-equal branch of government, we also want to advance our efforts to be transparent and accountable to Kentucky taxpayers. There is value in obtaining regular audits of the AOC and making those results public, and the Supreme Court will determine the scope and frequency of audits going forward.”

Read the full audit, which cost the AOC $125,000 here.

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