Joe P. Asher
With the release of the state audit on the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, questions have been raised concerning when Sheriff Marvin J. Lipfird requested the Kentucky State Police begin an investigation of more than $37,000 missing from his department’s drug account.
In his response included with the audit, Lipfird states “when the auditor brought this to my attention, I went to the state police and requested they conduct an investigation.”
According to KSP Post 10 Commander Leslie E. Smith, an investigation was not requested until Tuesday.
“The verbal request for an investigation was on Tuesday,” said Smith. “The written request came at my request on Wednesday.”
According to Smith, Lipfird did advise a KSP detective of the situation approximately four months ago, but did not request an investigation at that time.
“The investigation will be conducted by a Post 10 detective or investigator from another county or by the KSP Special Investigations section,” said Smith.
In an interview conducted Wednesday, Lipfird verified he did not officially request an investigation by KSP until Wednesday morning, but he did speak with a KSP detective about the situation in July.
“I went and saw the detective. He asked ‘what do you want me to do?’ I said I’m just giving you a before hand, I think I’ve got a problem and I’m going to ask that you all investigate it,” said Lipfird. “Capt. Smith called me this morning and asked I send the official request. I immediately typed it up and sent it out to Post 10.”
Lipfird said the official request could not be made until the audit was released.
“I requested that they (KSP) be the one to investigate it, but it was not official until I got the final numbers,” said Lipfird. “I was not sure of the final number until I got the audit report.”
Lipfird was asked about the auditor’s findings concerning the purchase of a 2004 Ford truck. The audit report states the matter will be referred to the Harlan County Ethics Committee.
“I can’t comment on the ethics thing because I’ve not talked to anybody about it,” said Lipfird.
According to Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop, the ethics committee will be set up by the Cumberland Valley Area Development District.
“It’s not set up yet, but it’s being done,” said Grieshop.
The audit states according to the Harlan County Code of Ethics, “no county government officer of employees or members of his immediate family shall have an interest in a business organization or engage in any business, transaction, or professional activity which is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest. Section B states no county government officer or employee shall use or attempt to use his official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others. Section C states that no county government officer or employee shall act in his official capacity in any manner where he, a member of his immediate family or a business organization in which he has an interest, has a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgment.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com