Ex-Kentucky Personnel Cabinet Secretary Tim Longmeyer charged with bribery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) –  The former head of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet has been charged with bribery in an alleged contracting kickback scheme, according to a complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Lexington.

Timothy M. Longmeyer, who resigned this week as a deputy attorney general, is accused of using his state position in the Personnel Cabinet to steer work to an unidentified company “in exchange for cash payments and conduit contribution checks made payable to certain political campaigns,” the complaint says.  

Longmeyer did not immediately respond to a message left on his cell phone Friday afternoon. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

The FBI claims that, while heading the Personnel Cabinet, Longmeyer “abused his authority” over the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan to persuade health insurance giants Anthem and Humana to hire the unidentified company for consulting work. The company then funneled the money into cash payments for Longmeyer and campaign contributions to his chosen candidates for state office.

Humana and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield have contracts with the state Personnel Cabinet to administer the state employee health plan, according to the complaint.

The insurance companies are not named as defendants in the case, and authorities said they have no reason to believe Humana and Anthem officials knew about the scheme, U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said in a press conference Friday.

Still, Louisville-based Humana "intends to conduct a full internal investigation to confirm that there was no wrongdoing on the part of Humana associates," company spokesman Tom Noland said in an email. Noland added that Humana did not learn about the Longmeyer allegations until the complaint was filed Friday.

The complaint does not identify the political candidates that received Longmeyer's laundered donations, and authorities said they had no reason to believe the candidates were aware of how the money was obtained.

The FBI planned a "coordinated operation" to seize evidence related to the investigation Friday morning, according to court documents. The complaint was made public at noon Friday so that the targets of the probe were not able to "destroy evidence, change patterns of behavior, notify co-conspirators, or flee" before the morning operation took place.

It's "quite possible" that other people will be charged, Harvey said at the press conference Friday.

"When these failings occur they're going to be detected and they're going to be punished," Harvey said. He added, "Those corrupt elements will be rooted out and punished."

How scheme worked

The FBI complaint alleges Longmeyer arranged “surreptitious” meetings with a representative of the company in different locations, including the parking lots of a Kroger in Versailles, Ky., and a McDonalds in Midway, Ky. Longmeyer sought “kickbacks” at the meetings.

The complaint alleges that Longmeyer secured $2.05 million in contract work with Humana and Anthem for the unidentified firm. The firm provided “focus group testing and telephone surveys” for the health insurers.

Of the just over $2 million Humana paid to the firm between 2011 and 2014, Longmeyer received kickbacks of $175,000 in cash and $6,000 in “conduit contribution checks” to certain candidates for state office, according to the complaint.

Then, in 2015, Longmeyer got $22,500 in cash kickbacks off a $48,000 contract the unidentified company got with Anthem for a “phone survey.”

On Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, 2015, the FBI observed Longmeyer meeting with a “representative” of the consulting firm in the parking lot of the McDonald’s in Midway.

While inside a vehicle, the representative gave Longmeyer $5,000 in two envelopes on Oct. 2, and then the remaining $17,500 in a “brown cardboard box” on Oct. 9, according to the complaint.

Much of the information in the complaint comes from a confidential informant who worked for the company and also has a criminal history. In exchange for his cooperation, he won’t be charged in connection with the scheme. The informant was also paid an unspecified amount for his cooperation.

The source told an FBI agent that representatives of the company recruited and paid people, including the firm's own employees, to write checks to campaigns. In his case, the source said he was reimbursed in cash for his contributions.

The FBI also obtained information through recordings of conversations with others involved, business records of the company, state campaign finance data, text messages and other surveillance.

Longmeyer is a former chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. He served as Personnel Cabinet Secretary in the administration of former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear from 2011 until last September, when he announced he was resigning to practice law.

Shortly before Longmeyer stepped down, he and "other members of the conspiracy" found a new funding source, according to the complaint. It involved funneling $22,500 to Longmeyer from a $48,000 consulting contract with Anthem.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, the former governor’s son, hired Longmeyer to be his deputy attorney general last December. Longmeyer spent more than 14 years as a prosecutor in Jefferson County, according to Beshear’s office.

Longmeyer is scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge in federal court in Lexington on April 20.

In a statement, Andy Beshear said he was "disappointed" and "even devastated" by the allegations against Longmeyer, which he did not know about until Friday although Longmeyer had resigned "earlier in the week." 

"The allegations deal with his prior employment, and are entirely unrelated to his time in the Attorney General’s Office. My office is fully cooperating with the U.S. Attorney and the FBI, and will continue to do so," Beshear said.

Steve Beshear, who returned to private law practice after his term as governor ran out Dec. 7, said in a statement he is "shocked and dismayed" by the allegations against Longmeyer.

"Soon after I took office, I used my powers of executive order to put in place a strong set of ethics rules, stronger than required, and I made it clear that everyone in the Executive Branch was to be held to the highest standard," Beshear said. "This is obviously a surprise, and we await the outcome of the judicial process."

Here is the criminal complaint:

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