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David Williams Announces Support for Richie Farmer’s Luxury Hotel Stay

Despite widespread public outrage, Senator David Williams has gone on record defending a $1,576 hotel bill racked up by his running mate Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer at a Lexington hotel. Sen. Williams not only claimed that Richie Farmer’s hotel stay during the Boy’s Sweet Sixteen Tournament was an appropriate use of state funds, he clarified his remarks by claiming that Richie Farmer’s “celebrity status” alone justified the expense.

“Senator Williams, how can you condone this horrible waste of taxpayer’s money?” asked Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon. “No matter who you are, celebrity or otherwise, when you’re trusted to act as a steward of taxpayer’s money, you don’t charge the state $359 a night to stay down the road from your house.”

At a Legacy 2011 Newsmakers Series Forum held last night in Louisville, Sen. Williams was asked whether or not it was fair for state taxpayers to incur the cost of Farmer’s hotel stay. After explaining to those in attendance that Farmer also stays in hotels during the Kentucky State Fair, Williams explained that he approved of the hotel stay and that it was a bargain considering Richie Farmer’s basketball fame:

“Well, if you go to all the games at the state basketball tournament, before and after, in a Kentucky Proud t-shirt, working the crowd, promoting the situation, you know, $300 a day you couldn’t hire Richie Farmer and his celebrity status and be there to promote that so I don’t think that was a bad expenditure of state dollars for Richie Farmer to do that.” – Senator David Williams, April 26, 2011.

Sen. Williams defended his running mate’s four-night stay at the Lexington Downtown Hilton during the Kentucky Boy’s Sweet Sixteen Tournament. Though Commissioner Farmer lives just 28 miles away in Frankfort, he charged $1,576 to stay in a luxurious two-room suite that included a wet bar, king size bed and several flat screen TVs.

Sen. Williams’ defense of Commissioner Farmer’s hotel stay is not surprising, since Williams has had his own problems with high-end purchases at taxpayer’s expense. In February, Kentuckians learned that Sen. Williams had purchased at $17,000 flat screen for his private office with state funds.

“On Monday I called on Commissioner Farmer to reimburse the state for this foolish purchase and I will continue to make that request,” said Logsdon. “No matter what kind of spin you put on this - Commissioner Farmer’s hotel stay was a foolish and wasteful way to spend the hard-earned money of Kentucky taxpayers.”