$900,000 lawsuit paid out over sneakers, lip balm and retaliation

Three KSP troopers had their jobs threatened over whistleblowing
Four pairs of stolen shoes were at the heart of the investigation.
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 7:11 PM EST
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ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Nearly a million dollars will be paid out over lip balm and a couple of pairs of sneakers, things three Kentucky State Police troopers tried to come forward about.

“Let’s talk about the shoes,” one of the whistleblowers, former KSP Sgt. Mike Garyantes was asked during a deposition for the case.

His testimony was among the claims a jury in a civil lawsuit believed. They awarded a total of $900,000.

According to the lawsuit, the whistleblowers, Garyantes, Sgt. Kevin Burton and Lt. Frank Taylor tried reporting their suspicions that things were being taken from the evidence room at the Elizabethtown Post. They claimed a fellow trooper had taken four pairs of Eddie Bauer sneakers and several individually packed lip balms.

None of the mandatory procedures for checking out evidence were followed. The whistleblowers believed the items were stolen for the personal gain of the trooper and his family members which included a KSP Major and a KSP Captain.

“This is not how the state police and the troopers that have fallen prior envisioned this place to be,” Garyantes said.

Garyantes is one of three whistleblowers who were awarded a total of 900 thousand dollars in a civil lawsuit Wednesday. They also came forward about a KSP owned tractor that was spotted at one of their farms.

“For hay, cows, maintenance, everything like that,” Garyantes said.

When the whistleblowers tried to come forward, they claimed their supervisors swept things under the rug and started to threaten them with suspensions, their jobs, or moving them from their post.

A jury agreed, found enough evidence, and made the call.

Garyantes is now actively in the army now.

“I will not do state police ever again,” Garyantes said. “They burned every bit of that and will say that to anybody that asks.”

KSP did not return our call for comment.

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