Politics
2:13 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Stumbo Refers LRC Chief Robert Sherman's Doc Shredding to Kentucky State Police

A Republican Kentucky House leader is calling for Kentucky State Police to be brought in to investigate document shredding by Robert Sherman following his resignation Friday as director of the Legislative Research Commission. 

Jeff Hoover, the House minority floor leader, wrote in a letter to Senate President Robert Stiver and House Speaker Greg Stumbo that police should investigate to "either exonerate those involved if nothing improper occurred or bring punitive action if it did."

Robert Sherman
Credit Legislative Research Commission

In response, Stumbo has asked Kentucky State Police to "take whatever action it deems appropriate." 

Hoover wrote: "Former Director Sherman has stated these documents had nothing to do with the recent sexual harassment investigations conducted by the Legislative Research Commission. However, given the timing of the investigation, his resignation and the destruction of certain documents, I believe public perception may differ."

Hoover also questions why Sherman was in the LRC offices—and how he got in—although his resignation was effective that Friday afternoon.

Sherman resigned after an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against John Arnold, who also recently resigned.

(Past coverage of the John Arnold sexual harassment allegations from WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.)

Stumbo released a memo from LRC Deputy Director Robert Jenkins describing the documents. The memo was enclosed with a letter to state police.

In the letter, Jenkins wrote that no information related to threatened lawsuits was destroyed. He said the destroyed documents were "either duplicates"—with copies kept elsewhere within LRC—"or other material that was safe to be destroyed."  Jenkins was basing his statement on his own observation, Sherman's,  plus those of staff members Roy Collins and Rita Ratliff. Ratliff has been alleged to be in a relationship with Sherman.

(Related: In Kentucky Legislature, Lax Rules Govern Workplace Relationships Despite Long History of Scandal)

The papers, Jenkins wrote, were 15 years of "junk" that began accumulating when Sherman was first named LRC director in 1999. They included:

  • "personal junk mail; his house refinance information"
  • "duplicate copies of memoranda to the Speaker and President that referenced committee appointments"
  • "agreements to meet from the interim joint committees"
  • "approvals for out-of-town meetings, and other routine memoranda that he kept"
  • "salary lists for LRC staff"
  • 'salary recommendations that were routinely prepared when he hired new staff"

A Kentucky State Police spokesman said he was unaware of an investigation into the records shredding.

Hoover's Letter

Stumbo's Letter to Kentucky State Police