Tim Longmeyer sentenced to 70 months imprisonment in federal bribery case

09/29/2016 06:30 PM

UPDATED LEXINGTON — Former Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for his role in a kickback scheme involving a Lexington-based consulting firm and the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan.

Longmeyer, wearing a gray suit with a white shirt and blue tie, showed little emotion as U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell read his 70-month sentence.

Caldwell said she considered not only the severity of Longmeyer’s crimes, but also the message that a lengthy prison stint would send to other public officials tempted to engage in similar illicit activity.

Longmeyer, who also served as Attorney General Andy Beshear’s top deputy, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in April after admitting that he accepted $197,500 in cash and $6,000 in conduit campaign contributions from MC Squared Consulting in exchange for helping secure work for the firm through Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan contracts held by Humana and Anthem between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30.

In his first public comments since the scandal broke in March, Longmeyer apologized to his family and those who trusted him in public service, saying he did not treat that trust with respect.

“There is no excuse for my actions,” he told the court Thursday. “The reasoning was my own, and I failed to follow my moral compass.”

Longmeyer said he felt “deeply ashamed” of his misdeeds and repeatedly apologized for his actions.

One of his attorneys, Brian Butler, pleaded with Caldwell to limit his time in prison to 30 months. He summed up what dozens wrote to the judge on Longmeyer’s behalf, saying he’d put his client’s record in public service up against any other’s until his downfall. Longmeyer, a former assistant commonwealth’s attorney and Democratic Party chairman in Jefferson County, was described as a family man who was also dedicated to his church and his career in the government and politics.

Butler also noted his client’s cooperation with investigators and prosecutors after he was informed of the ongoing investigation into his kickback scheme.

“He has literally done everything humanly possible to show his remorse,” Butler said.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy Boone countered that regardless of his cooperation and acceptance of responsibility, Longmeyer should have known better, particularly as a former prosecutor. Boone argued for a 70-month sentence, saying that would deter other public officials from following a similar illicit path.

While Longmeyer can count many accomplishments in his life and career, “unfortunately we are here today, and we’re talking about punishment for a very serious crime,” Boone said.

Longmeyer didn’t use the money he received from MC Squared to finance a lavish lifestyle, but rather spent more than half on “straw” political contributions, Boone said, adding that it was important to Longmeyer “to be seen as a team player.”

Caldwell said she was compelled by the letters of support for Longmeyer, but a “significant sentence” is a necessary deterrent for others.

“This defendant’s crime further erodes the public’s trust in government,” she said from the bench.

Longmeyer said little to reporters as he walked from the courthouse other than to reiterate his apology.

Asked about the trust placed in him by the Beshears, Longmeyer called them “a wonderful family” and said he was “very sorry for anybody I’ve let down.”

“As I said before, particularly sorry for the employees that often don’t get the recognition and do the hard work in that I might have diminished their accomplishments for some of the things I’ve done,” he said. “I’m very sorry.”

Outside the courthouse, U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said prosecutors were happy with the sentence handed down by Caldwell.

“As we’ve said before after occasions such as this, no one takes any joy in this sort of proceeding, but it’s necessary,” he said. “We take very seriously our role to protect the public, to protect the public fist from officials who succumb to the temptations of greed, and that’s what’s happened here.”

Longmeyer was ordered to pay more than $203,500 in restitution, plus a $100 fee. He’s also barred from opening a line of credit without court approval and must give his probation officer access to financial records, Caldwell said.

Butler indicated that a $50,000 check soon will be cut toward Longmeyer’s court debt.

Longmeyer is scheduled to report for prison assignment by 2 p.m. Dec. 7. He’ll be placed on three years’ supervised release once he serves his sentence.

A co-conspirator, Democratic political consultant Larry O’Bryan, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in U.S. District Court and waived indictment by a grand jury on Wednesday. O’Bryan admitted to receiving more than $642,000 between October 2011 and March 2014, according to prosecutors.

Asked about the swift and quiet guilty plea for O’Bryan after the attention given to the case against Longmeyer, Harvey said that isn’t unusual.

“I think in that particular case arrangements were made with the defendant’s attorney to enter the plea,” he said. “Defendants have a right to plead not guilty and go to trial. They also sometimes choose to proceed without all of that when they’re confronted with the evidence.”

Harvey declined to say why prosecutors chose to charge Longmeyer and O’Bryan for different timeframes. Prosecutors have said the kickback scheme was hatched in 2009.

“That gets into some areas that I really shouldn’t discuss,” he said. “I would just say that in both cases, we pursued the most serious, readily provable offense against those defendants, which is departmental policy, and I wouldn’t go beyond that.”

He also declined to say whether others, such as MC Squared owner Sam McIntosh or others at the firm, would face charges in the government’s probe, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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