Kentucky political consultant gave bribes for contracts, say prosecutors

19 June 2018 Authored by Consulting.us

Political consultant James Sullivan has been accused of paying bribes to ex-state official Tim Longmeyer in order to secure lucrative government contracts for his clients. He is one of four people charged in a federal bribery investigation in Kentucky: the other three, including Longmeyer, have already pleaded guilty and are serving prison sentences.

Part of a federal investigation that has shed light on the seedy underbelly of patronage politics and corruption, the trial of veteran Democratic political consultant and lobbyist James Sullivan continued in Lexington, Kentucky. The consultant is alleged to have paid bribes to currently imprisoned ex-state official Tim Longmeyer in order to retain a government contract for one of his clients.

Sullivan is one of four people charged in a federal bribery investigation focused on the Kentucky state government. Larry O’Bryan and Sam McIntosh, two Democratic political consultants, have already pleaded guilty to routing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks in the pursuit of securing Kentucky government contracts for their clients.

Kentucky political consultant gave bribes for contracts, say prosecutors

At the centre of the ‘pay-to-play’ corruption scheme was mastermind Tim Longmeyer, who served as personal secretary to Governor Steve Beshear, eventually moving his scheme to the Attorney General’s office, where he served as a top deputy. Longmeyer pleaded guilty back in 2016, and is currently serving a five year-and-eight-month sentence.

Prosecutors say that James Sullivan paid Longmeyer thousands of dollars over a seven year span in order to retain a government contract for his client Cannon Cochran Management Services. The company, which manages state’s workers compensation claims, paid Sullivan’s consulting firm $50,000 a year to help it keep the contract and win others in state and local government. The client’s contract was renewed every two years, despite two protests from a competitor.

Sullivan’s bribes took the form of ‘Christmas presents,’ or were tucked into restaurant menus or car cupholders during their meetings. Prosecutors allege that Sullivan also paid Longmeyer to steer contracts to law firms he represented when Longmeyer moved to the Attorney General’s office.

Sullivan is pleading not guilty, the only one of the four men charged so far to deny culpability. The consultant’s lawyers say that the money was given as gifts between friends, as Longmeyer “was always asking for money.’

Testimony

On the fourth day of Sullivan’s trial, political consultant Larry O’Bryan testified that he met with Jim Sullivan to pick up a $5,000 bribe and deliver it to a state official in order to help secure government contracts. The cash stuffed envelopes were deemed ‘Christmas presents.’

Previously, O’Bryan worked with Tim Longmeyer and Sam McIntosh to help the latter’s consulting company MC Squared win contracts with the state’s employee health insurance plan. Prosecutors say McIntosh’s company charged double what the consulting work cost, and then split the rest between the three conspirators. All three are currently serving prison sentences.

Sullivan’s lawyers say that O’Bryan and Longmeyer have concocted the allegations against their client in order receive lighter sentences for their more serious crimes.

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