Bevin responds to ethics complaint filed against him over Anchorage mansion

Bevin responds to ethics complaint filed against him over Anchorage mansion

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – A longtime ethics advocate filed a complaint Thursday against Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin over the circumstances surrounding his family's move to a mansion in Anchorage.

Bevin responded to the complaint at a Friday press conference.

"We haven't seen it," Bevin said. "We're not allowed to see it."

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Richard Beliles is a former member of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance Board and leads Common Cause Kentucky, which bills itself as a non-partisan group designed to take money out of politics.

WAVE 3 News obtained a copy of Beliles' ethics complaint against the governor. It centers around Bevin's relationship with investor Neil Ramsey.

Bevin attacked Common Cause as being partisan. He noted Attorney General Andy Beshear's pledge to donate tainted campaign contributions from Tim Longmeyer to the group. Longmeyer is a former deputy attorney general and Democratic activist who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges.

Beliles filed the suit as an individual and not on behalf of Common Cause.

Beshear recently said he had started speaking with the Executive Branch Ethics Commission about whether Bevin committed an ethics violation by living in a home purchased from Ramsey for about half its assessed value and then appointing Ramsey to the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board.

"This is a 150-something-year-old house," Bevin said. "It is arguably not even worth what was paid for it, let alone what it's being assessed at."

An anonymous company called Anchorage Place LLC purchased the home for $1.6 million in March 2017. The home's assessed value was around $3 million. Bevin didn't say whether he owns the LLC.

The complaint also alleges Bevin was allowed to live in the home for free when he took up residence there in late 2016.

While the home was purchased in March 2017, Ramsey confirmed to WAVE 3 News that he began discussing the sale of the home with Bevin in late 2016, months before it was placed on the market.

"This is again a bunch of political mumbo jumbo and it's a distraction," Bevin said. "I appreciate that you're interested in it. Let's let the facts come out instead of all the breathless hypotheses."

The complaint also mentions Ramsey's $300,000 investment in Neuronetrix, a Bevin-owned company, through the state's Angel Investment program. It netted Ramsey a $120,000 tax credit. WAVE 3 News reported on the investment of Ramsey and others in the company.

"Incidentally, in Kentucky alone, somewhere between 50 and 100 people own that company," Bevin said, adding that the tax credit is "something the state has done for years. Many people - hundreds of them - have taken advantage of this."

Finally, the complaint focuses on Bevin's lack of transparency regarding the issues and his unwillingness or refusal to speak with the media.

"You all are so breathlessly misinformed about things, trying to vilify people, make scapegoats of people," Bevin said. "It's hard for me to take you seriously when you are so remarkably lopsided in your coverage."

Bevin claimed reports about the home and his relationship with Ramsey included "falsehoods," but he did not mention any specifics and did not respond to any of our follow-up questions.

Click here to read the ethics complaint filed against the governor in its entirety.

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