Man convicted of jury tampering appointed to crime victims board

BY CHARLIE PEARL Published:

A Frankfort man - convicted in 1990 of jury tampering in a trial of former state Rep. Jerry Lundergan - has been appointed to the Crime Victims Compensation Board by Gov. Steve Beshear.

The appointment of James F. Sullivan, 1010 Silver Creek Drive, to the Board of Claims and the Crime Victims Compensation Board was announced July 9 by Beshear. Sullivan will receive $1,500 a month as a stipend.

Jury tampering was a misdemeanor when Sullivan was convicted, but the crime was amended in 2002 to a felony, according to state law.

In explaining the appointment Tuesday, Dick Brown, Beshear's communications director, said in an e-mail to The State Journal, "Mr. Sullivan applied for this appointment, answering all questions on the application truthfully. The application does not ask if a person has ever been convicted of a misdemeanor.

"When making the appointment, Gov. Beshear was not aware that Mr. Sullivan had previously been found guilty of a misdemeanor 20 years ago. Mr. Sullivan, in fact, was appointed to serve on the Kentucky Lottery Board by the previous administration (Gov. Ernie Fletcher) and served in that capacity in a professional manner. There is no reason to believe Mr. Sullivan will do otherwise in this current appointment."

Sullivan, vice president of the Flint Group consulting firm in Frankfort, could not be reached for comment. He did not return a phone message left at his home Tuesday, and a person in his office today said he is on vacation this week.

A July 9 news release from the governor's office said Sullivan will serve as chairman of the Board of Claims. He has a four-year term on the board.

Sullivan replaces William D. Goodman, whose term had expired.

The Board of Claims is responsible for deciding claims filed against the state by citizens who believe they or their property has been damaged through negligent acts on the part of the state. The board is made up of members of the Crime Victims Compensation Board.

The Crime Victims Compensation Board determines the eligibility and amount of reimbursement to innocent, needy crime victims. The board is composed of five members appointed by the governor.

In August 1990, Sullivan, a state Treasury Department employee, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 500 hours of community service for jury tampering in the 1989 trial of former state Rep. Lundergan.

Then-Franklin District Judge Joyce Albro reduced the sentence recommended by the jury that convicted Sullivan one month earlier. The jury had recommended 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. Albro assessed the fine but reduced the jail time provided Sullivan performed the community service.

A settlement reached during the appeals process reduced his sentence to a $567 fine, according to Franklin District Court records.

Evidence at Sullivan's trial showed that he never actually contacted a juror sitting in the Lundergan case. But Sullivan did contact someone else and, according to testimony, mentioned the possibility that there would be money and favors to help Lundergan's case.

Lundergan's first case was declared a mistrial after news accounts of Sullivan's attempt were published.

Lundergan, a former state Democratic Party chairman, was convicted of improper use of influence by a legislator involving his family catering business.

Sullivan and Lundergan were childhood friends in Mason County.

According to campaign finance records, Sullivan gave a total of $2,000 to Beshear's primary and general election campaigns " the maximum allowed under state law. Sullivan's wife, Teresa, also gave Beshear the $2,000 maximum. She also contributed $1,000 to Fletcher in the 2007 primary campaign.

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