Office of the Attorney General
Owen County Judge Executive Resigns As Part Of Plea Agreement
The Office of the Attorney General today announced that Owen County Judge Executive Billy O’Banion has entered a plea of guilty to four counts of official misconduct and resigned from his elected position. As part of the plea deal, he also agreed that he shall not be a candidate for public office in Kentucky for the next two years.
O’Banion, Owen County Treasurer Gayla Lewis and Deputy Judge Executive Renaee Gaines were indicted on September 23, 2008 for multiple charges of official misconduct and theft. Lewis also resigned today as part of a plea agreement entered in her criminal case. Deputy Judge Executive Renaee Gaines previously pled guilty on December 23, 2008 to multiple charges and will be sentenced on January 23, 2009.
Commonwealth’s Attorney James Crawford handled the prosecution of these cases. Crawford serves as Commonwealth’s Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit, which includes Carroll, Grant and Owen County, and he has served in that capacity since 1989.
“I am pleased that these cases have been resolved and that Owen County can now move toward better fiscal responsibility,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney James Crawford. “Abuse of public money should not be tolerated, and I believe that justice has been served in this case.”
The cases arose from an audit of Owen County’s finances performed by State Auditor Crit LuAllen’s office for the years 2007 and 2008. The auditor referred the findings to the Office of the Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI). The DCI worked with Commonwealth’s Attorney Crawford to complete the criminal investigation.
Governor Steve Beshear will appoint a replacement.