Rifles, Knives Auctioned by State Fetch $21,000
An auction of rifles and knives purchased during the Richie Farmer administration at the state Agriculture Department raised $21,415 Monday in Frankfort, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced.
"This auction blew the doors off all our expectations," Comer said in a news release. "We thought there would be some spirited bidding for these collector's items, but we never expected anything like this. I want to thank everyone who came out to take a look and cast a bid."
The winning bidders gave $14,650 for 13 rifles and $6,765 for 16 knife sets, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources reported. A crowd estimated in excess of 400 packed the state Fish and Wildlife Resources headquarters for the auction, one of two surplus property auctions the department hosts each year, on a postcard-perfect Monday.
Proceeds from the auction will help fund an urban garden project by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Louisville that will be announced later this year.
The Remington rifles and Case knives were left over from a 2008 regional agriculture conference held in Kentucky. The specially engraved rifles and knives were intended as gifts for agriculture commissioners and their top aides from member states of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture. They later factored into the criminal charges that eventually landed Farmer in prison.
"The state more than got its money back for these items, and now we can fully fund the urban garden project," Comer said. "Our thanks go to the Fish and Wildlife Department for their assistance with this project - but most of all, we are grateful to our winning bidders, who helped take a negative and turn it into a major positive for Kentucky. This is a great day in the mission to reform the culture of Frankfort."
Photo: Capt. Todd Rogers, a conservation officer with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, displays one of the rifles that were put up for auction for a TV crew today in Frankfort. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo)