Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Henrys reimbursing state

Repayments follow auditor's look at wedding expenses

The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Lt. Gov. Steve Henry has reimbursed the state for $4,372 in personal expenses since the state auditor began scrutinizing whether public funds were used in his wedding to former Miss America Heather French Henry, the Courier-Journal reported Tuesday.

        The payments included some of his expenses to attend the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., and the Democratic National Convention.

        Mr. Henry said the expenses were proper and that none of the five checks he's written to the state were for his wedding.

        “We're just trying to make sure that we reimburse, and that's all I can say. We're just trying to overpay versus underpay,” he said.

        Mr. Henry said the reimbursements had nothing to do with the inquiry into his Oct. 27 wedding in Louisville.

        Auditor Ed Hatchett announced Nov. 15 that he was looking into allegations that state resources had been used in planning and carrying out the wedding.

        State records show two checks were delivered by Mr. Henry last week and three other payments were made Nov. 15, the Courier-Journal reported.

        Mrs. Henry wrote a check for $167.68 to the state on Nov. 15 for personal stationery, postage and paper.

        Mrs. Henry's mother, Diana French, paid the state $2,116.32 to cover the cost of printing media packets for the wedding, phone calls, business cards for her daughter and other miscellaneous expenses before Mr. Hatchett announced his probe. Steve Henry's mother, Wanda, also paid $26.50 for wedding photos.

        According to the records obtained by the newspaper, some employees worked on state time at the wedding, including a state photographer and videographer. Steve Henry's office also has paid more than $1,800 for wedding and engagement photos and videos.

        Mr. Henry said he didn't know his office had asked the state's Division of Creative Services for nearly 1,000 copies of photos.

        Mr. Hatchett wouldn't comment on specifics of his inquiry, but said the state should only pay for the expenses if it benefits in a tangible way.

        He said he couldn't think of a tangible way the state would benefit from photographing the Henry wedding.

        But Rusty Cheuvront, a spokesman for Gov. Paul Patton, said that there is a legitimate state interest in recording the wedding on film and that there was great public interest in the wedding.

        “He is the lieutenant governor, and she is Miss America,” Mr. Cheuvront said.


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