Bids for the new sewer plant were opened recently and the low bid for the project was submitted by a company in Lawrenceburg, Ky., according to Gene Jones, manager of the Monticello Utility Commission.
In his report to the Monticello City Council during the regular monthly meeting Monday, July 9, Jones stated that Smith Contractors submitted the low bid of $5,808,000 for the sewer plant project.
Jones added that the water treatment plant project is scheduled to be bid on August 3, and the bids will be opened later next month.
A grand jury has indicted Pulaski County Coroner Richard New on more than 20 counts of theft stemming from his employment at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home–but New’s attorney says it comes at a curious time.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Don Trosper, who serves as public information officer for the agency, confirmed July 3 that a Pulaski County Grand Jury on that date indicted New on 26 counts of theft.
The investigation is being carried out by Trooper Billy Correll, with KSP Post 11, London.
Trosper stated through an e-mail to the Commonwealth Journal that the indictment stems from several alleged thefts, “…over a nine-year time span, totaling approximately $60,000.”
Trosper stated that the alleged thefts took place at New’s former place of employment.
New was fired from Lake Cumberland Funeral Home in May 2011, and the funeral home’s board, through attorney Bruce Orwin, initially said little about the reasons behind New’s termination except to say that the board had decided to make some changes in terms of management.
New had been operating the Pulaski County Coroner’s Office from the old Pulaski County Courthouse since his termination from the funeral home.
“We have been made aware that Richard’s former employer has arranged for charges to be brought against him by a prosecutor out of Williamsburg, Kentucky–Mr. Allen Trimble,” said New’s attorney, John Gillum, through a statement provided to the Commonwealth Journal. “Although I have not seen any indictment, I have been made aware that his former employer now alleges that (New) was stealing from them.”
The case is being prosecuted by Whitley and McCreary County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble. A message left for Trimble July 3 at his home in Corbin was not returned by press time.
Gillum further stated that the timing of the indictment is suspect.
Along with his duties as coroner, New is now operating Southern Oaks Funeral Home, located on the Ky. 914 Bypass.
“The timing of these allegations is certainly curious and coincidental considering that (New) has just opened a new competing funeral home,” Gillum stated.
Orwin, contacted by phone July 3, said Lake Cumberland Funeral Home’s board of directors had nothing to do with the indictment’s timing. Orwin also stated that New was terminated from his position at Lake Cumberland Funeral Home after the board “discovered some financial irregularities and immediately contacted law enforcement.”
Orwin said KSP brought in a forensic accountant to scan the funeral home’s financial records.
“They found a number of things the board didn’t know about,” Orwin said. “There were other things the state police found on their own.”
“They (KSP) did an extremely thorough job,” Orwin added. “That’s why it (the investigation) took so long. We showed them (KSP) what we had found and we left it up to them.”
Orwin also said none of the alleged financial irregularities involved Lake Cumberland Funeral Home’s clients’ trust accounts, which includes pre-planning accounts.
“None of that was affected at all,” Orwin said. “All the money was the funeral home’s money.”
Gillum said that he’s sure New will be exonerated of the theft charges.
“Although we have not had the opportunity to review the indictment, we are confident that (New) will be vindicated once all of the facts come out,” Gillum said.