Kentucky’s attorney general is continuing criticism of Gov. Matt Bevin’s purchase of a mansion in suburban Louisville.
The Courier-Journal first reported that Bevin and his family moved into an estate in Anchorage that was previously owned by a political donor appointed by the governor to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board.
The Bevins seemingly got a more than a $1 million discount on the home compared to the county’s official property estimate.
Attorney General Andy Beshear said during a news conference on Tuesday that there “continues to be a lot of smoke” stemming from the issue.
“We have got to get to the bottom of this because from the outside it at least looks like a case of personal enrichment by a governor,” Beshear said. “Someone’s gotta investigate it and the facts have to be shown to the public in a transparent way.”
Earlier this month, Beshear asked the Executive Branch Ethics Commission to weigh in on whether he has the authority to investigate if the governor used his position to get a deal on the house. On Tuesday, Beshear said the commission still hadn’t responded.
Neil Ramsey, the president of an investment company and a Bevin appointee to one of the state’s pension boards, sold the home to Anchorage Place LLC for $1.6 million — below the $2.7 million value assessed by the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator.
Though Bevin refused to answer questions about who owned the LLC for weeks, during a WDRB interview on Friday, Bevin said that he bought the home through the organization for liability and estate planning purposes.
Bevin criticized coverage of the issue, saying that reporters are “destroying good people and their reputations.”
In a tweet, Bevin also chastised Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus for covering the story, calling him a “sick man” and claiming that state police removed Loftus from the property earlier this year.
In Loftus’ account, he went to the property earlier this year but left after meeting state police in the driveway of the mansion.
On Monday, Beshear said that Bevin could be accused of libel for wrongfully claiming that Loftus committed a crime.
“I think we all have a duty as public officials to be far more responsible than that,” Beshear said. “That’s part of our job, to answer to the press, and I think if all public officials accepted that then we’d be in a better place.”
Richard Beliles, chairman of government watchdog group Common Cause of Kentucky, filed a complaint with the state’s Executive Branch Ethics Commission last week alleging that Bevin used his position to get a deal on the house.