Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 23, 2013

Former Olive Hill mayor indicted

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

OLIVE HILL —  Olive Hill’s former mayor has been indicted on a felony marijuana-trafficking charge.

A Carter County grand jury recently returned an indictment charging Danny Sparks with trafficking in marijuana within 1,000 yards of a school, a Class D felony that carries a one- to five-year prison sentence.

Sparks was arrested Nov. 28 after he allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover informant working for the FADE Drug Task Force. The transaction took place in a parking lot near Olive Hill Elementary School, police said.

FADE said the investigation leading to Sparks’ arrest had been ongoing for several weeks.

Sparks also faces a misdemeanor charge of having an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following his arrest, Sparks wrote a resignation letter in which he said he’d made a bad mistake and failed the city of Olive Hill and its people. However, that letter was never submitted to the city council.

Sparks, who’d been mayor since 2000, resigned a few days later. His brief, hand-written letter of resignation didn’t mention his arrest. Instead, it cited “present circumstances” and said resignation would be best for the city, the council and his family.

The council appointed one of its members, Kenny Fankell, to serve the remainder of Sparks’ term, which expires in December 2014. Tony Williams, a council member who did not seek re-election in November and whose term was scheduled to expire Dec. 31, was appointed to fill Fankell’s vacant council seat, which also expires in December 2014.

A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation of a crime and does not establish guilt.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.