Saturday, April 29, 2017

Kentucky Open Record Laws Are Under Attack

Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF) bills for University of Kentucky

Last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Kentucky Open Records Act, an indispensable and vital tool for holding public officials and agencies accountable. The Kentucky open records law changed everything when it went into effect in June 1976 in the midst of general distrust in government.

Before it was signed into law by Kentucky Gov. Julian Carroll, local government officials could easily hide their spending, state government agencies could hide their mistakes, and elected and appointed officials could more easily abuse their powers without any accountability.

Under Kentucky law, the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Open Meetings Act and Open Records Act. Under the law, if citizens or journalists are wrongfully denied a request for information to a public agency, they can appeal directly to Kentucky Attorney General's office.

Recently, Kentucky universities – mainly the University of Kentucky – refused to cooperate with the Attorney General's Office. There were numerous cases brought to the Attorney General about the University of Kentucky, and the UK subsequently proceeded to appeal almost all of Attorney General's decisions in Circuit Court, wasting taxpayer money.

In each case, the universities also refused to allow the Attorney General's office to confidentially review the documents in question. This happened despite the fact that the universities were assured that the Attorney General's review was confidential under law. Universities were also told that they could redact the names and identifying information on any student victim. They still refused.
In numerous recent cases, University of Kentucky refused to release documents regarding their Healthcare division and a secretive non-profit foundation, Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF), founded by the University four decades ago.

To be clear, state law explicitly gives authority to the Attorney General to confidentially review documents. Without that review, a corrupt University of Kentucky official could easily cheat the system by providing false or fraudulent reasons to withhold information. However, if the Attorney General cannot review the documents, the bad actor could never be caught or proven wrong.

Kentucky Medical Services Foundation is a non-profit generating more than $200 million a year, which University of Kentucky officials vehemently claim to be a private entity. KMSF and UK have blocked Lexington Herald Leader and me, personally, from accessing vital documents that would reveal the inner-workings of the secretive University Foundation.

The sad part of this scenario is that public agencies are using taxpayer money to defend themselves in circuit court to appeal the Attorney General’s decisions.

Governor Matt Bevin has direct control over Kentucky's state universities and should ask them to release their documents. UK's president Eli Capiuloto should not be able use taxpayers’ money to circumvent Kentucky's Open Records Laws. Transparency is always good for the health of our government and our universities. After all, what are they trying to hide from Kentucky taxpayers by appealing open records decisions?   

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

UK President Eli Capilouto's Golden Parachute

These days, Kentucky’s state universities tend to top the news headlines with dramatic changes among the top leadership. Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse also recently stepped down and Wayne Andrews of Morehead University and Gary Ransdell of Western Kentucky University both declared their plans to retire next year.

Then there are the stories of annual budget cuts. State funding for University of Kentucky had been decreased by $70 million since 2008. With Governor Matt Bevin’s most recent additional budget cuts, Eli Capilouto announced layoffs and a 5% tuition increase, the maximum annual tuition hike allowed by the Council for Post-Secondary Education.

Yet in late June, UK President Eli Capilouto received a 48 percent increase in his base salary, bringing it to $790,000, and a contract extension. In corporate America, President Capilouto’s contract revision is called a Golden Parachute, which are benefits given to a top executive (or top executives) in the event that the company is taken over by another firm and the executive is terminated as a result of the merger or takeover.

According to President Capilouto’s new contract, if his job is terminated prior to June 30 2018, he will receive rest of his base salary that he would have received until 2021 and a $1.74 million termination penalty. This means, if Matt Bevin terminates Capilouto’s contract tomorrow, the University will be obligated to pay its departing president more than $5 million.

President Capilouto is a Machiavellian genius and most likely already predicted the public uproar and backlash that his generous salary increase and contract extension would create amid budget cuts and layoffs. However, I strongly believe the move to increase his salary and to change his contract terms is driven by fear as much as driven by greed. President Capilouto is fearful of sharing University of Louisville President James Ramsey’s destiny.[R1] 

As untimely and unfair the salary hike for President Capilouto might seem to the uninitiated, there was a sense of urgency in this move. He is aware that his involvement with UK’s secretive foundation might be his downfall. Sooner than later, Kentucky Attorney General and Governor Matt Bevin will start to look into the financial dealing of UK’s $200 million Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF).

I strongly believe State Auditor Mike Harmon should also start auditing KMSF's books and financial dealings during the last decade. Since Previous Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway already determined that KMSF is a public entity, we should question why UK's Board of Trustees are not overseeing UK's foundation, as they used to few years ago.

What is happening at UK today is not much different than what occurred at the University of Louisville. One only needs to follow the money trail, which always leads to the UK's secret foundation, Kentucky Medical Services Foundation. 

Dr.Lachin Hatemi, a graduate of the University of Kentucky-College of Medicine, is an Indianapolis physician who has filed open-records requests about the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Comment | UK's woes no different than UofL's

President Eli Capilouto with UK trustees
                                                 by Lachin Hatemi M.D.
Gov. Matt Bevin unilaterally dismissed all 17 appointed members of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees in an unprecedented maneuver. U of L’s president, James Ramsey, also pledged to resign while applauding Gov. Bevin’s actions.
House cleaning at UofL was long overdue; the university was mired with sex scandals and accounting mishaps. Both the UofL president and the Board of Trustees failed Kentuckians by failing to run the university in a transparent and efficient fashion.
These days, higher education in Kentucky tends to top the news headlines with dramatic changes happening among the top leadership at the state’s universities. Wayne Andrews of Morehead University and Gary Ransdell of Western Kentucky University both declared their plans to retire next year, and Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse also recently stepped down.
Kentucky’s flagship university, the University of Kentucky, is the last remaining institution of higher education that remains untouched by the governor. It is only a matter of time before Gov. Bevin starts to pay attention to UK’s leadership, however.
UK is not in any better situation than the UofL; indeed, it is just better at hiding its own scandals. UK’s president, Eli Capilouto, and his chief counsel, William Thro, had been tussling with Kentucky Attorney General’s office to hide vital documents that may reveal questionable dealings if published.
UK – just like U of L – also has its own secretive foundation, named Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF), which had been the middleman for countless questionable transactions where university administrators transferred public funds and public land to be used by private entities.
After the arrival of Dr. Michael Karpf to lead UK Healthcare, KMSF’s assets and revenue disappeared from the school's accounting books, and UK’s board of trustees ceased to oversee KMSF’s operations. How this dramatic change happened within UK’s balance sheets remains a mystery.
KMSF commands annual revenue of more than $200 million, which is generated by UK’s clinical faculty, all of whom are state employees. Only a handful of UK administrators, including President Capilouto and Karpf, really know what is happening within KMSF.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear recently decided to declare KMSF a public entity founded and controlled by UK administrators. Unsurprisingly, KMSF’s attorneys promptly appealed this decision in Fayette County Circuit Court.
Kentuckians may ask why UK’s foundation is not accountable anymore to the general public and to the UK’s board of trustees. What is happening at University of Kentucky is simply not much different than what the University of Louisville has been dealing with.
Dr. Lachin Hatemi, a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, is an Indianapolis physician who has filed open-records requests about the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

What is UK Healthcare hiding from the General Public?

UK's Chief Counsel William Bill Thro continues to defeat Open Record Laws

                                                      By Lachin Hatemi M.D.

Gov. Matt Bevin recently made a 2% mid-year budget cut to Kentucky’s public universities, which promptly led to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Andy Beshear. That lawsuit is now about to be transferred to Kentucky Supreme Court after Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate issued his opinion stating that Bevin had the authority to make mid-year cuts to universities.

Universities across Kentucky all stated that such budgets cuts will lead to layoffs and tuition rate increases. While nobody will disagree that our universities deserve the best and even more resources, our two leading universities – the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville – were not always transparent about how they managed their finances.

During the last decade, both the University of Louisville and UK’s administrator ranks swelled and university administrators garnered Wall-Street style salaries despite working for public entities. University of Louisville President James Ramsey’s total compensation of $1,682,176 was three times that of the average compensation of presidents at 10 similar universities. The Kentucky State Auditor is now investigating the University of Louisville’s Foundation, which manages the university’s endowment, as President Ramsey received significant compensation from the Foundation.

The University of Kentucky’s President Eli Capilouto is little different than his counterpart at Louisville. The University of Kentucky also has its own secretive foundation named Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF), which commands a budget of more than $200 million a year. The Kentucky Attorney General recently ruled that KMSF is a public entity founded, managed and controlled by the University of Kentucky despite KMSF and UK’s  attorneys’ insistence that KMSF is a private entity and not subject to state open record laws.

“As a state agency, it would ill behoove us to ignore the opinion of the attorney general,” former UK General Counsel John Darsie has stated. At one time, that was the official position of the University of Kentucky.

That occasion, in 1991, seems like a very long time ago at a university far, far away. Today, UK President Capilouto’s General Counsel William Thro strikes a very different position on public access (or, rather, blocking public access) to the university’s budget-related records, especially records concerning the University’s HealthCare management.

During the past year, two successive Attorney Generals repeatedly have determined that the university has illegally withheld public access to records, including records concerning spending by the University’s Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF), agreements between KMSF and Coldstream Laboratories, Inc., and five years worth of requested minutes of a committee charged with, and relied upon by UK HealthCare for, advising on compensation policy.

Even more starkly illustrative is the University’s refusal to provide access by Kentucky’s own Attorney General to these “secret records.” The university wrote its position that the Attorney General (and public) must instead trust that the university’s mere “explanation is sufficient.”

What is the university administration hiding from the public? What other secrets about UK budget policy and practice remain, but which eventually must yield to the light of public view? When President Capilouto’s General Counsel speaks the above mindset for “the university.” Is the UK Board of Trustees also being spoken for? If not, then the Board needs to fix this before it has been lured so far out on the limb that there is no painless way back.  

Dr. Lachin Hatemi, a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, is an Indianapolis physician who has filed open-records requests about the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sasha Love Higgins: Lexington Businesswoman running for the City Council

                                                      Authored by Dr. Lachin Hatemi

Sasha Love Higgins with Lachin Hatemi
Lexington businesswoman, Sasha Love Higgins, is running for Lexington's City Council. Sasha Love Higgins is an energetic woman with a picture perfect family.

Sasha Higgins immigrated to USA at the age of 7 with his Jamaican born parents. His father owned a trucking company and his mother is a nurse. Parents now owner-operators of a Adult Living Facility in Florida.

Sasha is a general manager in a local Hilton Hotel and her husband works for the Lexington City Government. She is a mother of 2 young children aged 3 and 6, a girl and a boy.

Sasha is running for the 2nd District seat in the Council against in incumbent councilwoman, Shevawn Akers.

Sasha promises to brings entrepreneurship, integrity and empathy to the district. Being fluent in Spanish, she promises to be more involved with her district's rapidly growing Hispanic population. She also wants to bring businesses to her district and create jobs for her constituents.

Lachin Hatemi is a physician in Lexington, Kentucky. His interests include human rights, medical education and interfaith dialogue. You can reach Lachin at 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Standing with Nancy Jo Kemper who is Running for Congress

Dr. Lachin Hatemi with Congressional candidate Nancy Jo Kemper

Nancy Jo Kemper is a ideal candidate, a pastor, a progressive and a human rights advocate. As a single mother, she knows the difficulties faced by working class and single mother.

I am glad to see her running for congress challenging Andy Barr, who I also know personally. I hope democracy wins in the end of the day. It will be an interesting election, since Lexington is predominantly democratic.

Here is a cool video Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper and Rev. Anthony Everett.

Immigrants find success in owning, operating Lexington businesses - Lexington Herald Leader

Dr. Lachin Hatemi immigrated from Iran and Turkey to become a nuclear medicine physician, start his own global advisory firm, and to get into equine insurance.

Read more here:

One in six Fayette County residents is from a foreign country. These immigrants come from all over the world for an education, or a job or to join their families here. And they are making Lexington home in growing numbers, according to city officials.
“There are more and more immigrants coming to the Fayette County area every day,” said Isabelle Taylor, who works for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government in the International Affairs Department.
In 2016, the International Affairs Department estimated that 56,000 immigrants lived in Lexington. The total population is estimated at 314,546, according to the department.
The growth is particularly noticeable in public school students, too. In the 2005-06 school year there were 1,520 non-English speaking students in the Fayette County Public Schools system. In 2015-16, there are 5,605 non-English speakers, an increase of 269 percent.
As more and more immigrants make Lexington home, the number of immigrant-owned businesses has grown. Here are just a few examples of how immigrants are affecting the local economy with their local businesses.

Physician also works in investment banking, equine insurance

Dr. Lachin Hatemi immigrated from Iran and Turkey to become a nuclear medicine physician, start his global advisory firm and to work in equine insurance.
Hatemi, 34, moved to the United States at 17 with his family. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with two degrees: computer science and electrical engineering. He attended UK’s medical school and later finished his residency at the University at Buffalo in New York.


Read more here:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Haydar Hatemi - Chevy Chaser Magazine

Haydar Hatemi - Lexington KY

Haydar Hatemi - Lexington KY

Haydar Hatemi - Lexington KY

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jay Perman, President of University of Maryland at Baltimore Was at the Center of Discrimination Investigation by NAACP

by Lachin Hatemi M.D.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has issued a citywide curfew after the death of Freddie Gray, whose spine was 80 percent severed while he was in police custody. Police says as many as 15 officers have been injured in northwest Baltimore in the early days of the protests, where a large group of juveniles converged and began to throw bricks and other items at officers. The officers were injured with broken bones and cuts, and one was unresponsive. Mainstream media reports conflict with eyewitness accounts, with eyewitnesses reporting that officers instigated the confrontation by cornering the teenagers and throwing bricks at them.

While Baltimore is struggling with riots, the leader of University of Maryland is being asked to answer questions about his dark past at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Jay Perman is currently the president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Before coming to the University of Maryland, he was the dean of the University of Kentucky’s medical school where he was at the center of a discrimination investigation spearheaded by the NAACP.

Dr. Jay Perman’s tenure was marked with poor enrollment and retention of Black students at the University of Kentucky Medical School. A significant number of Black medical students have either been dismissed or held back a year or two in their education over the last decade under Perman’s leadership. The exodus of Black students was so great that it could not be explained simply by one individual student’s failures.

Under Dr. Perman’s leadership, countless Black medical students had to end their dreams to become physicians. Dr. Perman was never reluctant to use his power and authority to misrepresent student records and punish students by denying access to grades.

Dr. Permans track record got the attention of the local NAACP Branch which repeatedly requested the statistical data about minority student enrollment at UK College of Medicine. Efforts to access minority student enrollment data were denied by UK Administration for more than a year.

Jay Perman’s track record is worrisome, and he has persistently tried to hide from the general public for years. Today we need to ask if Jay Perman is the right person to lead one of the Leading institutions of higher learning in Baltimore.

Lachin Hatemi is a physician and a civil rights activist based in Lexington, Kentucky. Hatemi is also the founder and partner in consulting firm, Hatemi & Wallace Consulting. You can reach him at

Monday, May 11, 2015

Kentucky's "Bucks for Brains Program" Has No Trace on Emails


The Endowment Match program, also known as the “Bucks for Brains” initiative, was established through the 1998 biennial budget and was designed to attract top researchers to Kentucky. B4B was using tax payer's money to support faculty members.
The Bucks for Brains (B4B) program requires that universities match the state funds with donations from philanthropists, corporations, foundations, and other non- profit agencies. Public and private matched funds are invested and the earnings fund faculty positions, programs, or scholarships. The invested principal remains untouched in order to provide a perpetual source of funding to ultimately meet the goals of HB 1 through the commercialization of research, the creation of knowledge economy jobs, and the improvement of Kentucky’s economy and standard of living.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All-American Basketball Star and Educator Attends a Graduation Party in a Kentucky Detention Center

                                                                  by Lachin Hatemi M.D.

Two dozen inmates sat in a big study room on a Friday afternoon at the Division of Community Corrections at Lexington, KY. This was a special meeting – inmates in the room were present to receive their graduation certificates for completing various educational programs, and most of the inmates were there to receive their G.E.D. diplomas.

It was a happy day for everybody in the room, community leaders and leaders of local NAACP were also present in the audience. After hearing a group of inmates giving a small concert, a renowned School Principal in Lexington, Mr. Wade Stanfield, took the podium and gave a very personal speech to the inmates and other members in the audience, talking about lessons he learned from his life’s tragedies and triumphs.

For the next 60 minutes, the magnate school principal discussed how he approached life’s challenges and how he benefitted from his education. Stanfield described his transition from an All-American basketball player to a very successful educator.

Such programs are now gaining popularity across the nation, but the Division of Community Corrections at Lexington takes it into a whole new level under the leadership of Detention Center’s director Rodney Ballard.

The inmates at the detention center can learn life skills and gain education to better transition to life in the outside world. The G.E.D. program at Division of Community Corrections at Lexington, seeks to put that idle time to use. In the short term, it hopefully will allow the inmates to leave prison with better education compared to before they got institutionalized.

This experience reminds us the two new bills sponsored by legislators that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Illinois’ House of Representatives last week, which rewards inmates who continue their education behind bars with shorter sentences and sealed criminal records.

The Illinois bills would seal criminal records for non-violent felony offenders seeking employment, if they receive a “high school diploma, associate’s degree, career certificate, vocational technical certification, or bachelor’s degree, or passed the high school level Test of General Educational Development” while completing their sentence. The same applies for individuals who earn a certificate during aftercare or supervised release.

According to a RAND Corporation study, a person who pursues academic or vocational education while serving time is 13 percent more likely to find employment. Correctional education also leads to a 43 percent lower chance of recidivating. These statistics show that education behind bars is the best investment we can do for our inmates.

Hopefully one day, we will see the same legal changes in Kentucky and inmates at the Division of Community Corrections at Lexington will never had to come back again, other than to cheer for next year’s graduates in their graduation ceremony.

Lachin Hatemi is a physician and a civil rights activist based in Lexington, KY. Hatemi is also the founder and partner in consulting firm, Hatemi & Wallace Consulting. You can reach him at

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NAACP Protests Fayette County Public School System

Authored by Lachin Hatemi M.D.

Fayette County Public School system (FCPS) is a behemoth of an organization which is responsible for providing education to the children of Lexington, Kentucky. With a budget of more than $400 million, FCPS is also one of the largest employers in the city of Lexington.

Once a month, FCPS officials hold a public meeting to go over their budget, agenda and take input from its stakeholders (i.e., general public, parents and other interested parties). These school board meetings have a history of being monotonous and often put most in the audience to sleep had changed dramatically in the recent months.

There is a new participant in the room, the Lexington-Fayette County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Members of NAACP are not very quiet with their presence in these meetings. Actually in a recent meeting, one of the members of NAACP was asked to remove herself form the meeting room for causing a disturbance to the meeting.

The local chapter of the NAACP has significant concerns regarding equity in policies and finances within FCPS, more specifically, the unfair distribution of Section-7 funds and other general funds between low and high performing schools.

One of the main organizers of the protests is Dr. Shambra Mulder, the Chair of Education Committee, was very specific in her comments. 

“The Section 7 money is basically the excess money the district has to use at their discretion.  The law stipulates that it should be used based on student needs, achievement gaps, and as requested by schools according to their school improvement plans.  It appears for the last 5 years, this money has been distributed haphazardly.  As a result, high-performing schools have received more money than low-performing schools that primarily serve the low-income students in the district.  This is unacceptable and appears to have led to an adverse impact on academic achievement of the neediest students.  It remains to be seen whether the district is serious about providing the academic and financial resources necessary to turn around their low-performing schools.”

NAACP recently filed several open record requests asking for the records of general funds and how Section-7 money was distributed among schools.

Lachin Hatemi is a physician and a civil rights activist based in Lexington, Kentucky. Hatemi is also the founder and partner in consulting firm, Hatemi & Wallace Consulting. You can reach him at


University of Kentucky Lies about Minority Student Data

Authored by Lachin Hatemi M.D.

NAACP asked University of Kentucky officials to release the number of African American students at University of Kentucky College of Medicine, what they got back after a year long struggle was falsified data which was published by the local newspaper, Lexington Herald Leader, without any investigation. University’s legal counsel, William Thro even admitted in a personal email that the data about number of black medical students was false.

Over the last decade, black medical students were specifically targeted by the Dean of Medical School and other administrators. Most of the black medical students were asked to leave the school after couple years and many others were held back in their education.

When blamed for systematic discrimination against black medical students by NAACP and other activists, Eli Capiuloto decided to mislead the general public by releasing falsified information. But this was no surprise to people who knew him.