10.01.2008 0

The Draud Fraud Comes to an End

  • On: 10/13/2008 12:38:28
  • In: Government Transparency
  • The controversial Kentucky Education Commissioner, Jon Draud, who had the state government purchase him a $31,000 Chrysler 300—complete with $13,000 in upgrades—has agreed to pay for the car out of his own pocket.

    Whether that means the Republican former Kentucky House member will pay for the car outright, pay for the upgrades, or just return the car remains unclear. What is clear is that Mr. Draud remains ethically challenged.

    As ALG News reported, Mr. Draud’s extravagant purchase raised serious questions: If he was truthful and did not know how much the car actually cost, then that would mean he was a very poor steward of tax dollars while the state is facing a two-year budget deficit of $900 million. And if he did know, then that would mean he’s even worse.

    The truth be told, he went back and forth in emails with the state’s deputy finance secretary over the cost of the vehicle in light of the state’s budget crisis, and he moved forward anyway.

    Of course, he is still proclaiming his innocence, saying, “I also still maintain that I am a very ethical person, and I certainly think that most of the decisions in my life that I’ve made have been based on that.” The reporters present had the common courtesy not to ask for a CV and a note from his parish pastor.

    He went on to describe the story as being “very grossly overexaggerated.” Which of course is the politically correct way to address any scandal: Rather than simply apologize and make amends, blame it on the messenger.

    Fortunately, despite his political dance, he has agreed to reimburse the state. Though based on some of his statements, such an action could cost him life and limb:

    “Draud said that the upgrades were safety features that were important because as commissioner he could drive 25,000 miles a year.”

    Safety features? Well, maybe the hands-free phone might fall under that category—if Mr. Draud has trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. And perhaps the GPS is vital to his safety—if he’s in the habit of taking wrong turns and plunging headlong into the Great McCoughey Swamp.

    But the brand new bowl-shaped 300C Hemi upgrade priced at $10,946 extra? Well, one has to wonder what it is about a combustion chamber with a minimal quench and swirl, a sparkplug located near the centroid of the chamber, angled valves, and dome-topped pistons that really makes life on the road all that much safer. Or worth $10,946!

    Mr. Draud should really adhere to the old tried and true southern adage: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” And while he’s at it, he should also agree to buy his own car. Especially since he makes $220,000 a year—which is plenty enough to buy his own 300C Hemi upgrade, as well.

    And since we’re giving out advice, here’s some for the Kentucky Board of Education as well: now that you’ve found what Mr. Draud was keeping in the garage, you might want to check the silverware drawer, too. Like for too many public employees, he seems to confuse the public weal with his own wealth.


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