Today at 1 pm, the board of the Kentucky State Fair Board is expected to vote for the replacement of president and CEO Harold Workman, who announced this spring — shortly following the aborted attempt by the board to remove him — that he will retire at the end of this year.
Depositions in the whistle blower lawsuit of former Yum! Center general manager Ted Nicholson — who claims he was fired in retaliation by Workman due to his criticisms of waste and mismanagement to auditors hired by the Arena Authority last fall — reveal that the effort to remove Workman actually began last year, and were initiated by Gov. Steve Beshear. Tourism secretary Marcheta Sparrow testified that she asked for Workman’s resignation late last year, which he refused to provide.
Here’s an excerpt from the Nicholson lawyers’ response to the Fair Board motion to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed this week:
“In fact, according to two participants, a meeting occurred at the end of 2011 in which Governor Beshear informed KSFB Chairman Ron Carmicle, Secretary Sparrow and KSFB board member Mike Libs, among others, of his desire to have Mr. Workman removed as KSFB President. According to Secretary Sparrow, the “overarching reasons” that Governor Beshear pushed for Mr. Workman’s termination included poor Fair Board finances, personnel issues related to Mr. Workman using “to many state employees,” and poor communications with the Governor. Secretary Sparrow also testified that she spoke to Mr. Workman during this time and asked for his resignation, which he refused to provide.”
As LEO previously reported, Nicholson previously testified that at the Feb. 23 board meeting in which many speculated that Workman would be fired by the board, he overheard a phone call in the board room’s closet from Sparrow and Carmicle to Gov. Beshear in which they claimed to have voted in their executive session to fire Workman, but Beshear said that it was not a large enough margin to go forward with the firing.