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Kentucky Governor Agrees to Settlement on Ethics Charges

November 17, 2003|From Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Paul Patton reached a settlement Sunday with a state ethics commission, avoiding a hearing on administrative charges that he used his authority to help a woman with whom he was having an affair.

In the agreement, Patton admitted to two of four charges against him. He also agreed to accept a $5,000 fine and a public reprimand. As part of the agreement, Patton said he admitted to unknowingly violating portions of the state ethics law.

Patton said he wanted to avoid $100,000 in legal fees and save his family from the ordeal of a hearing. "I certainly want to protect my family from having to read this every day, and that's what it would have been every day this week," Patton said. "And the time is for it to be over."

Commission Chairman Joseph Helm Jr. said he hoped the investigation and settlement would show lawmakers they are not unlike ordinary citizens.

The deal also spares the governor from the threat of being found guilty of the administrative charges.

Patton, who leaves office Dec. 9, admitted to influencing a decision to promote a Transportation Cabinet employee into a newly created position at the request of the governor's former mistress, Tina Conner.

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