Kentucky Panel Finds Violation by Former Official

The Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission has found the former executive director of the Kentucky Racing Commission violated state law when he accepted a job at Churchill Downs, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Bernard Hettle was asked to resign in January soon after Gov. Ernie Fletcher abolished the racing commission and replaced it with the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. In April, Hettel accepted a consulting job at Churchill Downs, but the track reversed itself a few weeks later.

Under the law, upper-level state employees must wait six months after they leave government before they can work for people or companies that do business with the state in the field they regulated. The Herald-Leader reported the ethics commission, in an advisory opinion, ruled Hettel acted too quickly.

Churchill Downs told the newspaper the track and Hettel agreed to scrap the contract. Hettel was not paid for his few days of service, and Churchill Downs has not decided whether it will hire him again after the six-month waiting period expires, the paper reported.

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