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Former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Convicted, Resigns

December 12, 1989 GMT

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ State Rep. Jerry Lundergan, a former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, was convicted of an ethics violation Tuesday and said he would resign his seat in the General Assembly.

Despite a prosecutor’s plea to sentence Lundergan to jail time as a message about ethical violations, a jury recommended only the maximum $1,000 fine. A sentencing date was not set, but Franklin Circuit Judge William Graham cannot exceed the jury’s recommended sentence, although he can reduce it.

Lundergan, whose district includes Lexington, is one of Gov. Wallace Wilkinson’s closest legislative allies. Wilkinson appointed Lundergan to the party post in 1987, but then sought his resignation after Lundergan’s criminal troubles began.

Lundergan was convicted of violating a state law that bars a legislator from accepting any work from the state worth more than $25 except through competitive bidding. His family catering company was paid nearly $154,000 for an Economic Development Cabinet event in Louisville in 1987, during the term of former Gov. Martha Layne Collins.

Lundergan and his brother Tom, co-owner of the catering company, were found innocent of theft charges in connection with the same event.