Lobbyist Says Payments To State Official Were Friendly Loans

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – A veteran lobbyist says his multiple cash payments to a high-ranking state official were loans between friends and not bribes meant to maintain a lucrative state contract for his corporate client.

James Sullivan is on trial this week accused of bribing former Personnel Secretary Tim Longmeyer to maintain an annual million-dollar contract for Cannon Cochran Management Services Inc. The Illinois-based company administers Kentucky’s workers’ compensation claims.

Longmeyer testified Wednesday that Sullivan paid him to make sure the contract stayed with CCMSI. Friday, Sullivan told jurors that wasn’t true. He said he paid Longmeyer to help him buy Christmas presents, take a ski trip with his family and defray costs of a fundraising event for then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway.

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberating the case on Saturday.