The Richie Farmer of today is a completely different Richie Farmer than the one the state of Kentucky adored in the 80s and early 90s. The man who once had the Bluegrass wrapped around his basketball-dribbling fingers is now facing up to ten years in prison for ripping off the same taxpayers that made him king, then Commissioner of Agriculture.
As reported a little earlier today, Farmer was indicted on five counts of misappropriating state funds and properties. In other words, he abused his power — the power you gave him — and used your money to spoil himself. You name it, he probably bought it. With your tax dollars.
But there was a time when Richie Farmer was untouchable; there was a time when he was an Unforgettable.
Prior to his corrupt career in politics, Farmer was a Kentucky basketball legend unlike most we’ve ever seen. He was named Mr. Basketball in Kentucky in 1988 after leading Clay County to the Sweet 16 title game in back-to-back seasons. He cut down the nets as a junior in 1987 and came up just short in the quest for a repeat against Allan Houston and Ballard as a senior. From there, he went on to play four years at the University of Kentucky as one of the The Unforgettables, one of the most beloved teams in Kentucky basketball history. Look up next time you’re in Rupp Arena, yeah, that’s his No. 32 jersey hanging in the rafters.
That Richie Farmer is long gone, however. Now we’re looking at a man who ran for office as “Mr. Family Values” but turned out to be “Mr. Check Out My Sweet New Gun Cabinet”. He used his popularity with UK’s loyal fan base to get an office in Frankfort and his signature on gas pumps all over the state, and then he installed flooring in his home attic, built a basketball court in his backyard and put his feet up in a lavish suite during the Sweet 16. A state audit called it a “toxic culture of entitlement.” You and I call it shameful, a disgrace.
It’s like there are two completely different Richie Farmers. One is an idol, a basketball icon across the state and an Unforgettable. The other is a criminal and a fraud.
So I ask you, KSR readers, which Richie Farmer will you remember a decade from now? Two decades from now?
Will he still be an Unforgettable? Or is his time as Kentucky Ag Commissioner unforgivable?