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Drug Issues Plague Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky's Bid for U.S. SenateMarianne Skolek Salem-News.com
“Where there’s smoke there’s fire, but I say, “Where there’s love there’s liars” - Oh, The Story! lyrics
(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - Back in September 2009 and in March 2010, I wrote articles about Attorney General Jack Conway of Kentucky accepting a $50,000 check from an organization known as NADDI - National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.
I had a problem with Conway taking money from a group funded by Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin. My reasons were several -- The state of Kentucky was suing Purdue Pharma for the devastation caused by OxyContin in deaths and addictions -- and since Purdue Pharma was criminally convicted in Federal Court in 2007 of deceiving physicians and patients about the addictive and abusive qualities of OxyContin, I had a problem with law enforcement being associated with Purdue Pharma's poster child, NADDI -- a big problem with it.
A newspaper in Kentucky -- The Underground Chicken -- initially shared my concern with Conway taking money from convicted criminals, but then backed down and posted the following on their website:
Conway Responds to Purdue Pharma Article
"I appreciate Attorney General Jack Conway giving me a few minutes and responding to the story I wrote concerning Purdue Pharma. Marianne Skolek who is an advocate bringing to light the actions of companies like Purdue Pharma had questioned a grant excepted (sp) by the Kentucky Attorney Generals Office.
Skolek was very concerned that the Grant provided by NADDI was being funded by Purdue Pharma and other drug companies. In response, Attorney General Conway said that he was well informed regarding the funding issue. Conway said many of these grants are funded in part by the pharmaceutical industry. Conway responded emphatically, "The only issue is the budget". With the budget cuts we have and continue to face I'm not concerned that a part of the grant money comes from the industry said Conway. Conway continued on saying that when I can take this money and put it to good use to help in the fight against drugs and crime then I'm going to continue to do so."
Pretty much said it all -- Conway had no problem taking money from convicted criminals -- and used the excuse of putting it to good use to help in the fight against drugs and crime in Kentucky and, of course, the lame budget issue. I still had a problem with it. The top law enforcement official of a state should not be taking money from criminals and excusing himself because of a budget -- especially when his state was suing the criminals. The families of victims of OxyContin in Kentucky who lost loved ones to death and addiction may not share Conway's reasons for "dancing with the devil" and taking money from Purdue Pharma.
Now with the election fast approaching -- neck and neck with Rand Paul -- a story breaks all over Kentucky that Jack Conway's brother, Matthew Conway, a prosecuting attorney for Jefferson County has been under investigation twice for possible drug use or drug trafficking. And that Louisville, KY narcotics detectives -- Ronald Russ and Scott Wilson -- tipped off Matt Conway both times that he was under investigation -- and the investigation had been compromised. Matt Conway and the two detectives who tipped him off have all given misleading and/or false statements — Matt Conway doing so under oath.
Detective Wilson told Louisville attorney Scott Roby about the allegations and Roby notified Matt Conway. Wilson, who is a longtime acquaintance of Conway, also let the attorney read the complaint against him and warned him that he wanted to search his home. When he did search -- two days later, nothing incriminating was found.
Scott Roby is a donor to Jack Conway’s senate campaign. According to Fec.gov, Roby donated $1,250. About a week before Detective Russ met with investigators, Jack Conway received a telephone call from a supporter, businessman Charles Alexander. According to the records, he told Conway that he had been in a downtown restaurant where he heard another detective by the name of Carthan discussing the drug investigation involving Matthew Conway.
The records reflect varying accounts of what Carthan allegedly said. He told police investigators that while talking with a friend at the restaurant about the drug inquiry, he merely mentioned his investigation and said he had heard “a lot of incriminating things” about Matthew Conway.
Carthan told the investigators that he considered the investigation closed because it had already been compromised when Russ told Conway he was being investigated.
But Alexander told police that Carthan overheard him chatting with an acquaintance about fund-raising for Jack Conway, who was locked in a close primary-election campaign with Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo for the Senate.
Alexander said Carthan told them not to “waste their money” on Jack Conway, “that he had a case on Conway’s brother and that he was ‘dirty’ (corrupt).”
According to Fec.gov, Charles Alexander is a $2,400 donor to Jack Conway.
Now a question remains -- did Attorney General Conway know anything about the investigation being conducted against his brother? Jack Conway says that when he learned of the investigation he told his attorney brother to "get legal advice". Strange advice from one attorney to another attorney.
Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel said in an interview that he had reviewed all of the evidence gathered by police and was convinced that Matt Conway was neither a drug user nor trafficker.
Stengel said he decided not to discipline Conway for being dishonest with investigators because he went back and corrected his statement later.
Conway told investigators he had lied to protect Russ. "I just didn't want to see him lose his job over this," he said. "And, it was foolish and I'm sorry."
According to Fec.gov, David Stengel has donated $500 to Jack Conway’s campaign in the past.
On Stengel’s conduct, the Courier-Journal reported:
David Harris, a professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh who writes and teaches about police behavior and law enforcement, said Stengel let Conway off too easily.
“To admit you lied in an investigation where you were the subject, and it involved law-enforcement conduct, I find that very troubling,” Harris said, adding that he found it “mysterious that this wouldn’t trouble” Stengel.
In the meantime, Detectives Ronald Russ and Scott Wilson were placed in administrative jobs pending the outcome of an internal police inquiry. The Jefferson County Attorney's Office in August declined to bring charges against the men after police completed a criminal investigation.
The Attorney General is not his "brother's keeper" and his brother is not running for the U.S. Senate -- but the saying "Where there's smoke - there's fire" may just affect the Attorney General next Tuesday -- and that smoke is not coming from the coal mines in Kentucky.
Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.
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