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Complaint Raises Questions about Kentucky Governor, Mansion

J. Tyler Franklin

The head of a Kentucky government watchdog group said Friday he's seeking an investigation into Gov. Matt Bevin's reported connection to a Louisville-area mansion that sold for nearly a million dollars below market value.

Richard Beliles, chairman of Common Cause Kentucky, said he filed a complaint with the state's Executive Branch Ethics Commission. It stems from questions regarding the mansion's sale and reports that the Republican governor's family has taken up residence there.

Beliles is asking whether that chain of events involving the governor and one of his backers amounts to improper gifts under the ethics code for state officials.

"I'm hoping that this will get us some answers eventually," Beliles said in an interview. "Some of this appears to be gifts, as far as the definition under the rules."

A Bevin spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Bevin has declined to answer questions about the matter. The governor had a midday appearance scheduled at the state Capitol to talk about economic development.

The complaint stems from the mansion's March sale by a company controlled by Neil Ramsey to a company called Anchorage Place LLC for $1.6 million, according to media reports. The local Property Valuation Administrator recently valued the property at about $2.57 million.

Beliles' complaint asks whether Bevin's family lived in the mansion rent free for a time.

Bevin appointed Ramsey, an investment manager, to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board last year. Ramsey has insisted that the $1.6 million sale was a fair market price.

State law prevents the ethics commission from commenting on whether it has received complaints, said Katie Gabhart, its executive director.

The commission discusses complaints in closed-door sessions, when it decides whether to open an investigation. It reveals investigations only if it makes charges of ethics-code violations.

Meanwhile, The Courier-Journal reported recently that Ramsey invested in a Louisville medical device company partly owned by Bevin a few weeks before the mansion's sale.

Ramsey gained a substantial tax credit when he invested $300,000 in Neuronetrix Solutions LLC through state government's "Angel Investment Act" program, the Louisville newspaper reported, citing state records.

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