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Former social worker who filed false reports charged with violating state ethics code

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on Thu, 07/05/2012 - 15:56

FRANKFORT, KY. — The state Executive Branch Ethics Commission on Monday charged former social worker Margaret “Geri” Murphy with violating state government’s ethics code by falsifying reports on child abuse and neglect.

In May, Murphy, 61, of Lawrenceburg, pleaded guilty in Anderson Circuit Court to nine felony counts of tampering with public records. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24.

Monday’s ethics charge, like the criminal charges, said that between April of 2006 and October of 2010 Murphy filed false reports and falsely reported she performed investigations of child abuse she had not performed. She resigned as a social worker in December of 2010.

If it finds Murphy guilty of the ethics charge, the ethics commission could fine her up to $5,000.

Also Monday the commission found former Tourism Commissioner Mike Cooper guilty of violating the ethics code and fined him $2,000.

In May the commission charged Cooper with using his state office for personal financial gain.

On Monday the commission agreed to a settlement in which Cooper admitted he violated the ethics code and agreed to pay the fine.

The ethics charge alleged Cooper showed an “overall failure” to follow state rules dealing with travel and expenses.

Specifically, the commission said Cooper allowed a public relations contractor hired to promote Kentucky tourism in the United Kingdom to pay $735 in meals and other expenses for him during a trip to London in 2011.

Cooper later approved state payments to reimburse the public relations contractor for his expenses during the London stop, which was not authorized by his superiors in state government.

Cooper has since repaid the $735 to the state. He resigned as tourism commissioner in February.
Tom Loftus | The Courier-Journal