Taxpayers facing $2.3M tab in same-sex marriage case
LEXINGTON (AP) — Attorneys who successfully challenged Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage have submitted a bill for more than $2 million in legal fees, court costs and related expenses. Under federal civil-rights law, the state of Kentucky gets stuck with the tab as the losing party in the case.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the private attorneys hired by Gov. Steve Beshear to handle the state’s appeals have a $260,000 contract. According to state records, $231,348 had been paid by July 20.
The newspaper reports the total cost to Kentucky taxpayers is $2,351,297.
Beshear said Monday he will challenge the plaintiffs’ legal bill as “unreasonable.”
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III gets the final say on the matter.
The governor acknowledged the state must pay “reasonable attorneys’ fees” to the winning side.
Man sentenced in fatal shooting of lawyer
SOMERSET (AP) — A southern Kentucky man who pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the fatal shooting of a prominent defense lawyer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Eddy Montgomery told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Clinton D. Inabnit (in-AB’-nit) will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence imposed Monday in Somerset. Inabnit is in his early 40s.
Inabnit lived across the street from Mark Stanziano’s law office in Somerset. Authorities said he ambushed Stanziano last summer as the attorney arrived at work, shooting him six times with a 9 mm pistol.
Inabnit had been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. Police said he told them he received a message through the newspaper telling him to shoot Stanziano and that unidentified people told him ringing in his ears would stop if he shot the lawyer.
Mountain lion found in Ky. apparently from S.D.
FRANKFORT (AP) — Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials say they have investigated and can’t say for sure how a mountain lion turned up on a central Kentucky farm last December.
A conservation officer responded to a complaint on Dec. 15 in Bourbon County and found the animal treed by a homeowner’s dog in a populated area outside of Paris. The officer shot and killed the animal due to public safety concerns.
The lion was determined to be a 5-year-old male, weighing 125 pounds and in good condition. DNA analyses link the lion’s genetic origin to a population in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The agency says there’s no evidence the mountain lion made its way to Kentucky on its own and is believed to have been a released or escaped captive lion.
Judge dismisses suit claiming bourbon was falsely advertised
LOUISVILLE (AP) — Spirits company Beam Suntory has won another round in fighting off lawsuits accusing its classic Kentucky bourbon brands of false advertising for claiming the products are handcrafted.
In the company’s latest victory, a federal judge in California dismissed a suit aimed at whiskey giant Jim Beam.
Plaintiff Scott Welk said he was enticed into buying a bottle of Jim Beam’s white label bourbon at a premium price due to the handcrafted claim on the label. The suit said the labeling boast enables Beam to sell bourbon at a higher price because consumers connect “handcrafted” with high-end products.
Welk claimed Jim Beam bourbon is actually made using a mechanized or automated process requiring little human involvement.
His suit accused Beam of violating California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws by intentionally misrepresenting consumers. He tried to pursue claims as a class-action suit.
In a ruling Friday in San Diego, U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns said stills and other equipment have always been necessary to make bourbon.
101st Airborne receiving award for work fighting Ebola virus
FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — The 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell is being recognized for its efforts to fight the Ebola virus in Africa.
Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Africa Command, heads to Fort Campbell on Thursday to present the Joint Meritorious Unit Award to the 101st.
The presentation will be Thursday morning at the post on the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Receiving the award for the division will be Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commander of the 101st and Fort Campbell; Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory F. Nowak, division command sergeant major; and staff.
The post said the award is being given for Operation United Assistance and successfully containing the Ebola epidemic in Liberia.
The honor is the second highest award an Army unit can receive, behind the Army Presidential Unit Citation.
Public Service Commission orders small gas company to close
FRANKFORT (AP) — The Kentucky Public Service Commission has set Oct. 31 as the final day of operations for a south-central Kentucky gas company that it says can’t provide adequate service.
Richardsville Gas Co. Inc. serves about two dozen customers in northern Warren County. The PSC said in an order Monday that the company has no reliable source of supply of natural gas.
The commission said the company also has a dwindling customer base that makes it impossible to continue operations.
The PSC began investigating after receiving reports of service interruptions. Last month, the commission alleged the utility had been abandoned, in effect. Richardsville Gas responded that it had run out of options to maintain adequate operations.
The PSC held a hearing July 21 and on Monday ordered the utility to cease operations.
Board of Education continues search for new commissioner
LEXINGTON (AP) — The Kentucky Board of Education is meeting again Tuesday as it looks for a successor to Commissioner Terry Holliday, who is retiring at the end of the month.
The Education Department says the board will meet in Lexington to discuss additional information gathered on candidates and possibly conduct more interviews in closed session.
The board interviewed 12 candidates earlier this month.
The board is also expected to decide Tuesday whether to release finalists’ names.
Final interviews are scheduled Friday and Saturday in Lexington.
Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin C. Brown will serve as interim commissioner until a new commissioner begins.