SEPTEMBER 25, 2007
The public official in charge of regulating the alcohol and tobacco industries in Kentucky was arrested for driving drunk on a highway near Lexington.
The director of Kentuckyâ??s Office of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), Christopher Lilly, was pulled over by police Saturday night because he was weaving and driving very slowly. Police say the director smelled like alcohol and lost his balance during a sobriety test. A subsequent breathalyzer test revealed an alcohol level over the legal limit.
Appointed by controversial Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher to head the ABC, Lilly is the state official responsible for enforcing Kentuckyâ??s alcohol and tobacco laws through licensing and enforcement. The state agency has a special focus on combating youth access to alcohol and tobacco products.
Now its director faces drunken driving charges, yet another embarrassment in Fletcherâ??s tumultuous regime. Lilly posted $1,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on October 18. He subsequently apologized to the agency and early Monday morning he resigned.
This is just the latest in a series of scandals surrounding Fletcherâ??s administration, which has seen nine current and former staff members indicted for hiring state workers based on political ties rather than qualifications. Fletcher was also charged with illegally rewarding political supporters with protected state jobs but the indictment was dismissed in a deal with prosecutors.
The governor also made headlines for appointing a friend with no judicial experience to the Kentucky Supreme Court and passing over two sitting judges with more than 10 years experience in lower state courts.
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