Ky. governor accused of retaliating against businesswoman

Friday, September 27, 2002

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky attorney general said Thursday he will investigate allegations that Gov. Paul Patton sent state regulators after a woman's business after she ended their affair.

Federal authorities also are looking into the matter, a lawyer for the governor said.

Attorney Sheryl Snyder said Wednesday that federal agents have interviewed at least two people, and an attorney for Patton's accuser said Thursday he also had been in contact with federal authorities.

A spokeswoman at the U.S. Attorney's office in Lexington refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation. Calls to the FBI were not returned.

Patton acknowledged in a tearful, televised confession last week that he had an "inappropriate relationship" with Tina Conner, but he has denied using his office to hurt her professionally.

Conner, 40, says Patton did official favors for her during their two-year relationship but had state regulators crack down on her nursing home in Clinton when she refused to continue the affair in 1999. She accused the 65-year-old Democrat of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed Sept. 18.

According to her lawsuit, Conner said Patton had provided state assistance to her nursing home, Birchtree Healthcare, and to a construction company she owned. Conner also was appointed to the Institute on Aging and the board of the Kentucky Lottery Corp.

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