Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 3, 2011

Second state employee alleges pressure for Beshear campaign money

FRANKFORT — A second formal complaint alleging pressure on state employees to contribute to Gov. Steve Beshear’s re-election campaign is being lodged.

Dennis Gardner, a 12-year state employee and currently an administrative branch manager in the Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety, told CNHI News he mailed the complaint to Attorney General Jack Conway Wednesday. He provided CNHI News a copy of his letter.

 

In the letter, Gardner alleges that Chuck Geveden Jr., at the time the Executive Director of Highway Safety, twice last year solicited contributions to Beshear’s campaign from Gardner’s supervisor who both times refused. Gardner’s complaint does not name the supervisor except by title – Director of Office of Highway Safety. But CNHI News learned Boyd Sigler was dismissed from that position last month. Gardner alleges the dismissal occurred because of the supervisor’s refusal to give money for the campaign.

 

“I firmly believe he was terminated because he refused to contribute to Governor Steve Beshear’s re-election campaign after being illegally solicited in the office by Chuck Geveden, Executive Director of Kentucky Department of Highway Safety,” Gardner writes in his letter to Conway.

 

“Because of my close association with these individuals and my knowledge of this type of illegal and politically motivated activity, I am also now being dismissed by the Department,” Gardner continues. Gardner does not contend in the letter that he was personally solicited and later told CNHI News he was not.

 

Gardner, a merit employee and registered Democrat, said he is scheduled to have a “pre-termination hearing” with cabinet officials on Thursday and is “scared to death, but I have done absolutely nothing wrong.” His letter also alleges another unnamed employee is also being “targeted” for the same reason.

 

The Transportation Cabinet declined to comment.

 

CNHI News was unable to locate Sigler or contact him through intermediaries. Calls to a phone number listed for that name in the Frankfort directory produced a recording saying the number is no longer in service. Gardner would not provide a phone number or contact information for Sigler when asked.

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