Louisville political consultant Larry O’Bryan pleaded guilty Wednesday to serving as a middleman in a corrupt kickback scheme involving former state official Tim Longmeyer.
O’Bryan acknowledged in federal court in Lexington that he helped funnel payoffs between a contractor and Longmeyer, a longtime Democratic Party insider from Louisville who for years served as secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet.
Longmeyer pleaded guilty in April to accepting kickbacks from a Lexington consulting company in return for helping secure contracts with Humana and Anthem, administrators of the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan. Longmeyer is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for sentencing.
Prosecutors signaled their intent to charge O’Bryan earlier this month in documents filed under seal. His deal with the federal government was unveiled Wednesday when O’Bryan appeared in court and pleaded guilty to three counts of bribery tied to a program receiving federal funds.
O’Bryan agreed to pay $642,201 to the state — the same amount of the kickback payments he received from the consulting company, according to his guilty plea. He was released on bond and is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
Each count carries with it a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, though federal guidelines call for a significantly lesser sentence.
In his plea, O’Bryan acknowledged he, Longmeyer and another person — identified as “S.M.” — participated in the kickback scheme. Those initials match those of Sam McIntosh, whose MC Squared Consulting offices in Lexington were raided by the FBI on the same day that Longmeyer was charged. McIntosh, who could not be immediately reached for comment, has not been accused of any wrongdoing. MC Squared has not reopened since the raid.
In exchange for the work, “S.M.” paid O’Bryan half of MC Squared’s proceeds from its Humana contract. O’Bryan would withhold some of the money for taxes and then kick back half of the remaining funds to Longmeyer, according to court filings.
The government says that Longmeyer helped MC Squared get more than $2 million worth of business and took about $200,000 in kickbacks. (Read KyCIR’s coverage of the Longmeyer case)
O’Bryan spent nearly three decades in politics as a Democratic Party activist and consultant. He dubbed himself “the most successful political media consultant in Louisville” on his company’s website. His created the company, Pro-Active Media, in 1995.
MC Squared had provided election campaign services for more than two decades. McIntosh, a former Kentucky Democratic Party pollster and staffer who has planned campaigns, conducted polls and bought media time for people running for state and local offices. (Read “Inside The Kentucky Firm At The Center Of The FBI’s Corruption Probe“)
Longmeyer was secretary of the state Personnel Cabinet under former Gov. Steve Beshear from January 2011 through September 2015. On Jan. 3, newly elected Attorney General Andy Beshear, the former governor’s son, appointed him as his chief deputy at an annual salary of $124,620. Longmeyer resigned on March 23, just two days before he was charged with bribery.
Read his plea agreement: