WILLIAM M. LANDRUM, III, SECRETARY OF THE KENTUCKY FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION CABINET APPELLANT
FRANK LASSITER APPELLEE
FROM WOODFORD CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE THOMAS D. WINGATE,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 16-CI-00293
FOR APPELLANT: Brett R. Nolan Finance and Administration
Cabinet Frankfort, Kentucky
AND ORAL ARGUMENT FOR APPELLEE: J. Guthrie True Frankfort,
ARGUMENT FOR APPELLANT: Aaron Herzig Cincinnati, Ohio
BEFORE: ACREE, JONES AND THOMPSON, JUDGES.
OPINION REVERSING AND REMANDING
M. Landrum, III, Secretary of the Kentucky Finance and
Administration Cabinet (Secretary) appeals from an order of
the Woodford Circuit Court ruling that the Secretary did not
have power to issue an administrative subpoena duces
tecum to Frank Lassiter as part of an investigation into
the award of no-bid contracts to SAS Institute, Inc. (SAS)
during former Governor Beshear's administration. We
conclude that the Secretary had the power to issue the
subpoena and reverse and remand for the circuit court to
determine whether Lassiter should be compelled to comply.
a discovery dispute that arises out of Beshear's Finance
and Administration Cabinet's award of six contracts worth
more than $10.7 million to SAS. Because the issue presented
is limited to the subpoena power of the Secretary, we avoid
reciting more facts than necessary to reach its resolution.
2008 until July 2011, Lassiter was the executive director of
the Office of Administrative Technology Services within the
Cabinet for Health and Family Services. After his departure
from state government in 2012, Lassiter became a consultant
for SAS. During the relevant time frame, Lassiter's wife
served in the Beshear administration's executive cabinet,
first as State Budget Director and then as Secretary of the
through 2015, a series of contracts were awarded to SAS by
the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The first contract
was for SAS to provide anti-fraud protection to
Kentucky's health benefit exchange. Under the five
subsequent contracts, SAS contracted to provide anti-fraud
protection to other state agencies. The last contract was
entered into on December 7, 2015, near the end of the Beshear
administration, for SAS to provide one year of fraud
prevention services to the state for $3, 079, 000.
after taking office, Governor Matt Bevin ordered the Finance
and Administration Cabinet to investigate whether the six
contracts awarded to SAS complied with the Kentucky Model
Procurement Code (KMPC), embodied in KRS Chapter 45A, and
the Finance and Administration Cabinet's practices and
procedures. As part of that investigation, in October 2016,
the Secretary served an administrative subpoena duces
tecum commanding Lassiter "to appear before [the
Secretary] or his designee … to testify on behalf of
the Office of Inspector General's investigation into the
procurement and award of no-bid contracts to [SAS]."
refused to comply with the subpoena on the basis that the
Secretary lacked power to issue the subpoena to compel his
testimony or the production of documents when investigating
possible violations of KRS Chapter 45A. Additionally, he
argued that the Secretary had no authority to compel
testimony or the production of documents from a person not in
the employ of Kentucky state government. The Secretary filed
a motion in the Woodford Circuit Court to compel
Lassiter's compliance arguing that its subpoena power
arises from KRS 45.142. The circuit court denied the motion
concluding that the Secretary has no authority to issue a
subpoena when investigating a possible violation of the KRS
Chapter 45A. This appeal followed.
decision depends on the scope of the Secretary's
investigative subpoena power under KRS 45.142. Matters of
statutory construction are reviewed de novo without
giving deference to the circuit court's determination.
Cumberland Valley Contractors, Inc. v. Bell Cty. Coal
Corp., 238 S.W.3d 644, 647 (Ky. 2007).
judiciary's role when construing a statute "is
neither a populist exercise nor an elitist endeavor; it is a
judicial obligation, an undertaking guided by time-worn
principles, with the polestar being legislative intent."
Jefferson Cty. Bd. of Educ. v. Fell, 391 S.W.3d 713,
727 (Ky. 2012). In discerning that intent, "[t]he most
logical and effective manner by which to determine the intent
of the legislature is simply to analyze the plain meaning of
the statutory language[.]" Stephenson v.
Woodward, 182 S.W.3d 162, 169-70 (Ky. 2005). While we
may not add words to a statute, Hatchett v. City of
Glasgow, 340 S.W.2d 248, 251 (Ky. 1960), no single
statute is to be read in isolation. "We presume that the
General Assembly intended for the statute to be ...