On Wednesday, a Franklin Circuit Court judge affirmed his previous order requiring National College to pay civil penalties for its failure to comply with a subpoena issued by my office. In total, the judge imposed a fine of $147,000 on National College, and he also affirmed a $10,000 fine levied on National’s attorneys for their role in delaying my office’s investigation.
The actions of National College and its attorneys in failing to cooperate with my office on this important issue have been simply beyond the pale. The judge’s order follows three-and-a-half years of litigation over a civil subpoena seeking information about potential violations of the Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act. National refused to respond to the subpoena and instead filed suit to block our investigation. The judge’s ruling was sound, and I appreciate his careful consideration on this matter. You can read more about the ruling here. Rest assured that my fight to protect consumers against the deceptive business practices of some for-profit colleges will not stop.
On Thursday, I joined members of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue to share with them the recent developments involving a settlement of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) litigation. The settlement, which I announced earlier this month alongside Governor Steve Beshear, is one that Kentucky can be proud of. Following a complex, decade-long legal battle with tobacco companies involved in the MSA, I worked to end the litigation and find an agreement that was suitable for all parties. The result is an agreement that fully restores Kentucky’s MSA payment for 2014 and will result in a net gain of $57.2 million for Kentucky. This is great news for our farmers, communities, and health advocates, and this settlement will continue to have a positive impact on our Commonwealth for the foreseeable future. Additional information about the MSA settlement can be found here.
Recently, my office has received calls from consumers who report that they have been contacted by scammers claiming to be associated with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The scammers are reportedly identifying themselves as IRS representatives and threatening to take legal action against victims they insist owe money to the IRS.
I encourage you to be vigilant of this scam, and hang up the phone if you receive one of these calls. Also keep in mind that when the IRS first contacts a taxpayer, they do so via postal mail, not by phone. You can learn more about how to protect yourself from phone scams in our press release, and please don’t hesitate to contact my Office of Consumer Protection at 888-432-9257 with any additional questions or concerns you may have.