By Tony Hyatt
(FRANKFORT, Ky., March 25th, 2003, 5:30 p.m.) -- The man representing Tina Conner says that, as a Kentuckian, he is saddened by the actions of the Executive Ethics Commission on Tuesday. But at the same time, Frank Radolovich says it goes to show that Tina Conner has been telling the truth.
On Tuesday the Commission said that Governor Paul Patton violated his office in his admitted affair with Conner. "For months, it looked like Tina was not telling the truth, but the decision by the Ethics Commission shows that Tina was right about the affair, and right about the abuse of power," Radolovich told WAVE 3 News.
The governor is facing charges made by the commission to include his using his influence as governor to first assist Conner's construction business with the Transportation Cabinet. He is also charged by the Commission with using influence to get a vehicle enforcement officer who was a friend of Conner's, promoted.
A recent transportation report highlighted investigation into those two instances. And while the report found nothing wrong in the construction charge, it did demote the vehicle enforcement officer after it was learned the officer had contacted Conner about getting a promotion.
The Commission has also charged that the governor used his influence to promote Tina Conner to the Kentucky Lottery Board of Directors. And the final count says the governor promoted Conner's husband, Seth, to an agricultural advisory board.
Radolovich says he is pleased with the Ethics Commission's work. "They took their time, and they dug very deep," he said. "This was not a knee-jerk reaction in any way."
Radolovich said his client had met with the Commission three times but also supplied analyst documentation to the commission's investigators.
On the advice of his attorneys, Governor Patton never appeared before the Commission while it looked into the charges. The governor had been advised not to, since there was an ongoing investigation by the FBI and the Attorney General's office.
Radolovich told WAVE 3 News he has not yet spoken with Conner, but said the Ethics Commission filing charges is a victory, and that Conner is still ready to move forward with her sexual harassment lawsuit.
In response to the charges, Governor Patton made the following statement late Tuesday afternoon:
"The action today by the commission is based upon the allegations made by Tina Conner. The commission has merely initiated a hearing. I will vigorously defend myself against these allegations.
"As I have said before, I have made mistakes in my private life, but I have not abused my office. I am confident that, when the commission's hearing is completed, that fact will be clear to the citizens of Kentucky."
Online Reporter: Tony Hyatt