Federal investigators in midst of antitrust probe in Frankfort

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FRANKFORT, Ky. – Federal investigators are in the midst of yet another probe in Frankfort – this time looking for any potential antitrust violations in road construction contracts.

Word of the federal probe was splashed across the top of a state government webpage where a letter from Matthew Henderson, an attorney for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, informed contractors to preserve all records relating to highway projects dating back to 2010.

“Failure to do so could result in action by the federal government,” Henderson wrote in the letter on the Transportation Cabinet's procurement webpage.

Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Naitore Djibenou said in a brief statement that her agency “is fully cooperating and assisting” with the investigation. Djibenou said the Transportation Cabinet isn’t the target of the probe.

Henderson said in the letter that the Transportation Cabinet was notifying contractors to preserve all documents, communications and data in their possession related to construction, paving or asphalt projects. That includes, he said, any electronically stored information, including emails, voicemails, documents or images.

Djibenou said the Transportation Cabinet received a grand jury subpoena from the FBI on March 22.

Kyle Edelen, spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office in Lexington, said he “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”

The FBI completed a high-profile case out of Frankfort last year. As a result, former state government official Timothy Longmeyer began serving a 70-month federal prison sentence in January for bribery.

Longmeyer, a one-time deputy to Attorney General Andy Beshear and a top aide to former Gov. Steve Besehar, admitted in federal court that, while serving as personnel secretary, he arranged more than $200,000 in illegal kickbacks, much of which was used for illegal campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and causes.

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