Agency files suit, gets investigation into misspent $400,000

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Pulaski County’s chief economic development agency has sparked an investigation into its previous operation and filed a lawsuit to try to get back $400,000 it claims it was spent improperly by former employees.

The Kentucky State Police has opened an investigation and the Somerset- Pulaski Economic Development Agency is cooperating into alleged improprieties by former assistant director, Mark Bastin, and former office manager, Lisa Gadberry, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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The two worked for the agency when it was the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation. The discrepancy was discovered by the new president and chief executive officer Chris Girdler when the new agency was trying to close out the old agency and move the finances to the new group when the process started more than a year ago, according to the Herald-Leader.

Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Agency board members want to recover the funds and make sure Bastin and Gadberry are held accountable, Girdler told the newspaper.

In its lawsuit, the new agency alleges Bastin and Gadberry used the foundation’s credit card to pay for thousands and thousands of dollars in personal expenses from baseball tickets to dental expenses, according to the newspaper’s report.

The lawsuit also names former director Martin Shearer for lack of oversight but not financial improprieties, according to the Herald-Leader.

According to the complaint, Bastin and Gadberry admitted to investigators they collected and destroyed records of these transactions. The funds have not been returned, according to the Herald-Leader.

“This has been so disappointing to see. It’s maddening and disheartening,” Girdler told the Herald-Leader, noting the agency will file an insurance claim in hopes of getting some of the money back.