State Senate Leader Blasts Management of Kentucky Horse Park

Feb 12, 2016

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer speaking to members on February 12th, 2016
Credit Stu Johnson / WEKU News


The Senate Majority Leader is calling for a performance audit of the Kentucky Horse Park.  Senator Damon Thayer is proposing legislation to alter the make up of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission.

Floor Leader Damon Thayer brought to light his concerns during a speech to members.  “Things are not as good as they seem at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Thayer.

Thayer said a previous audit conducted by the state finance cabinet revealed problems with management.  He claims it showed payments to vendors were not monitored and there were violations of the small purchase authority.  Thayer says rental prices are of particular concern.  “The Kentucky Horse Park is the people’s park," said Thayer. "It is not meant for the few, for the privileged, and for the wealthy to make it their personal playground.”

Thayer said he had no confidence in Executive Director Jamie Link to oversee the park.  A representative with the horse park said Link was out of the office traveling and referred questions to the tourism cabinet.  Lexington Representative Susan Westrom says the horse park is one of central Kentucky’s golden treasures, well regarded nationally and internationally.  “And I would think that if there are any concerns that Senate Thayer had  about how the horse park is run, number one the first thing he would do is talk to Jamie Link,” said Westrom.

Thayer said he did not speak with Link about these issues and that it is not his job to do so, but is an executive branch function.  Tourism Secretary Don Parkinson issued a statement Friday.  Parkinson said the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet is encouraging an audit to be finalized as soon as possible to determine what operational adjustments Horse Park management has made in light of the 11 month old investigation.​