While running for office, Matt Bevin decried cronyism in government. However, since he was elected, Bevin has repeatedly hired friends and donors to government jobs, often with outrageously high salaries. Even worse, Bevin received a million dollar discount on the purchase of a mansion from a top donor after his administration gave that donor a massive tax credit.
Crooked Matt Bevin: too corrupt for the Commonwealth.
In May 2017, Bevin appointed a pastor and former executive with the Bevin-tied Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Daniel Dumas, to a bonus-eligible $240,000 per year role leading Kentucky’s adoption reform efforts. Dumas had no experience in child welfare or social work. In January 2018, seven months into the yearlong contract, the Health and Family Services Cabinet prematurely ended Dumas’ contract and paid him a contractually required $60,000 termination fee.
In 2017, Bevin hired his “old Army buddy and longtime business associate” Charles Grindle to serve as Kentucky’s Chief Information Officer. After less than one year on the job, Bevin gave Grindle a 134 percent raise worth $215,000, making Grindle the markedly highest paid state CIO in the country. Republican House Floor Leader Bam Carney filed a bill to cut Grindle’s salary by nearly 47 percent. The bill unanimously passed the House but never received a vote in the Senate.
In 2017, Bevin hired “longtime friend” and political donor Vivek Sarin as an Economic Development Specialist with a $250,000 salary, the same salary as Kentucky’s Economic Development Secretary Terry Gill. After Gill announced his resignation, Bevin indicated that he would recommend Sarin to serve as the cabinet’s interim secretary.
In 2018, Bevin appointed prominent Republican donor Kelly Craft to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. Craft had previously hosted a fundraiser for Bevin’s 2015 gubernatorial campaign and co-chaired Bevin’s inauguration committee.
In 2016, Bevin appointed campaign donor Neil Ramsey to the Kentucky Retirement Systems board. In January 2017, Neil Ramsey received a $120,000 tax credit from the state for investing $300,000 into Neuronetrix, a company partly owned by Bevin, through the “Angel Investment Act” program. In total, between 2017 and 2018, Neuronetrix received $1.2 million in investments through the program, $800,000 of which came from Bevin’s political supporters. In March 2017, Ramsey sold Bevin a mansion valued at $3 million for $1.6 million.