News in Brief

Special election to fill vacancy after lawmaker’s suicide

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A special election has been scheduled to fill a Kentucky legislative seat that was held by a lawmaker who killed himself following sexual assault allegations.

Gov. Matt Bevin on Thursday set a Feb. 20 special election to find a replacement for Republican Dan Johnson, whose body was found last week with what a coroner said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Johnson was in his first term representing a House district south of Louisville.

One Republican candidate and one Democratic candidate can be on the special election ballot. The nominees are chosen by their respective political parties.

Johnson’s wife, Rebecca, has said she wants to replace him in the Legislature. Dan Johnson died a day after denying a teenage girl’s claims that he sexually assaulted her in 2013.

University of Louisville hires administrator from Washington

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A university administrator from Washington state has been hired as chief operating officer for the University of Louisville.

U of L announced Wednesday that Joseph K. Han will succeed Harlan Sands, pending board of trustees approval in March. Sands left U of L in January.

Han is vice president of operations at Central Washington University, where he’s responsible for information services and security, institutional effectiveness, facilities management, environmental health and safety, and police and parking services.

Han has 27 years of experience in higher education leadership and operations. He said in a news release from U of L that he looks forward to building a process to achieve goals to support three campuses.

Kentucky parks taking registration for photo scavenger hunt

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky parks department is taking registrations for its 2018 Family Adventure Quest.

A statement from the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet says Kentucky State Parks will begin sending booklets containing 26 challenges for the digital photo scavenger hunt on Jan. 15. The challenges include games and historical photo re-creations.

It will be the 13th year the parks department has offered the adventure quest. Last year, 438 teams snapped photos in parks while finding objects and buildings to fulfill their quests and complete their booklets.

Teams can register online now or pick up mail-in registration at any state park beginning in February. Prizes are awarded depending on the number of challenges completed.

Ex-banker pleads guilty to taking funds from bank

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky bank executive has admitted to taking $1.4 million from Town Square Bank by processing loans to fake customers.

The Independent reports that Martin Ross, who was a senior vice president at the bank, pleaded guilty Monday. He admitted in a federal court plea bargain to creating a scheme, in which he crafted detailed identities.

Court records show he invented several fictitious customers and issued loans ranging from more than $45,000 to more than $240,000 between February 2007 and August 2017. Those loans represent accounts where a balance remains.

Ross’ attorney, David Mussetter, says it’s a case that didn’t involve customer funds. Mussetter says Ross’ scheme started as a “bad decision” to take out the initial loan, and spiraled out of control.

Ross is scheduled to be sentenced in April.