Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Patton book to recall 'some of the good things'

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Some top aides to Gov. Paul Patton have commissioned a book about his administration to "try to be remembered for some of the good things."

A Louisville publisher is to be paid to print 2,500 copies that are to be given away, mostly to libraries.

Patton refused to allow state money to be spent, so a tax-exempt corporation was formed to raise the $75,000 to $80,000 needed for the project, Secretary of the Cabinet Ed Ford said Monday.

Past and present officials of the administration "have accomplished so much and we don't want history to ignore them," Ford said in an interview. "We're going to try to be remembered for some of the good things."

Patton may be best remembered, at least for the near future, for his extramarital affair with former nursing home owner Tina Conner and her claim, still being investigated, that he used the power of his office to aid and then to ruin her business. Patton acknowledged the affair but denied misusing his power.

Asked if the book would include Conner, Ford said author Fran Ellers "has a wide license to decide what's in the book."

Ellers, a self-employed writer and editor who lives in Louisville, said she was under no editorial restrictions, but that the book "is to be the Patton administration's perspective on its history and achievements."

As an example of notable achievements, Ford cited an overhaul of higher education in 1997. It resulted in a research endowment program for state universities and creation of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

"We can't deny history. It all happened during his administration," Ford said.

Ford said it also was historic that Patton ran for re-election in 1999, thanks to a constitutional amendment. He is the only governor besides James Garrard, 200 years ago, to serve consecutive terms.

"We think that's historic in itself and it needs to be chronicled somewhere," or it will be lost in the mists of time, Ford said. "Nobody's reading about Garrard," he said.

Ford said the idea for a book originated with him and a few close associates, including chief of staff Andrew "Skipper" Martin, who was under indictment for breaking campaign finance laws until Patton pardoned him and three others last month.

He said the corporation raising money for the book was formed by three other Patton associates - attorneys Jim Cox of Louisville and Ed Logan of Frankfort and Patton's former campaign treasurer, George Helton.

The book is to be published by Butler Books in Louisville. The target is the first week of December, Patton's last week in office.

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