Agency charges governor helped friend of mistress

Wednesday, March 5, 2003

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Gov. Paul Patton influenced the promotion of a friend of his former mistress, the state transportation agency said Tuesday.

Officials of the Transportation Cabinet had previously said the promotion of vehicle enforcement officer Monty Clark was based on merit, not pressure from the governor's office or from Tina Conner, Patton's mistress.

But on Tuesday, a report by the agency's inspector general said the director of the Division of Vehicle Enforcement, Col. Kenneth Frost, told investigators Patton called him and asked if an additional sergeant's slot was going to be created.

"The governor asked him to look at Officer Monty Clark for that position," the report said.

Patton said Tuesday that the report "does not imply that anything I did was incorrect."

He said he did not remember making the call, "but I don't deny it."

A federal grand jury is investigating Patton's relationship with Conner. The governor has denied misusing his office during or after the two-year affair.

Inspector General Bobby Russell said Tuesday that Clark has since been demoted from sergeant. He said Clark might be charged with breaking an internal rule against "solicitation for personal advancement."

Clark, reached at his home Tuesday, declined comment.

Conner told WHAS-TV last year that she successfully urged the Transportation Cabinet to promote Clark to sergeant in 1999. The report issued Tuesday said Clark had arranged that same year to fix a speeding ticket for Conner.

Conner revealed her affair with Patton in September. She said that after she broke off their relationship, Patton turned state regulators loose on her nursing home to punish her, an accusation Patton has denied.

Conner has since lost the nursing home in bankruptcy proceedings.

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