County attorney, accused of making threats, blames politics

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky has ended a local elected official’s contract to collect child support payments after determining he threatened to burn down the governor’s home and “choke to death” a state employee.

But a lawyer for Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley called the accusations “baseless” and part of an “unprovoked and reckless attack” to punish Bartley for campaigning for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s Democratic opponent in the 2015 election.

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The state contracted with Bartley to collect child support payments in Floyd County. Last month, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services ended that contract with no explanation. Bartley sued, arguing state law requires county attorneys to collect child support payments on behalf of the state.

Department of Income Support Commissioner Bryan Hubbard then ended Bartley’s contract for cause, citing his statements and other factors.