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Fast women and beautiful horses: Lexington's legacy of lies continues

Lexington Courts Examiner Christopher Hignite

Lexington's legacy of corruption and vice has a long history and continues to th
is day. Lexington's ties to prostitution and corruption can be traced all the wa
y back to it's founding. While Lexington cleaned up, at least on the surface, fo
r years, these issues have found their way into the headlines steadily for the p
ast 20 years. Most recently popping up in the KLC, Airport Board, local election
s and the city's auditing scandals. The characters and organizations may change
over time but the one constant remains the connection to vice and specifically p
rostitution and the adult industry.
Mary Belle Cox was born on June 16, 1860, in Lexington, Kentucky. She was the se
cond illegitimate daughter of Sarah Ann Cox, dressmaker and occasional prostitut
e. A year later, Sarah Ann Cox married George Brezing, local saloon owner, and M
ary Belle and her sister Hester's last name were changed to Brezing.
On December 24, 1879, Brezing began to work for Jennie Hill, a madam who ran a b
rothel out of the Mary Todd Lincoln house at 578 West Main St. Brezing worked th
ere for two years until she had saved enough money to start her own house and as
sume the position of madam.
Brezing opened her first brothel in a row house at what is now 314-318 North Upp
er St. Around this time, Brezing was indicted on the charge of "keeping a bawdy
house." Kentucky Governor Luke P. Blackburn (1879-1883) pardoned Brezing and the
indictment was dismissed. This was the closest Brezing ever got to serving jail
She eventually even appeared as the character Belle Watling in Margaret Mitchell
's Gone With The Wind. This began Lexington's infamous connection to the world's
oldest profession.
A quick history to bring us up to date:
* September 1985 Kentucky Blue-blood Andrew Thornton II parachuted to his d
eath on a rural Kentucky farm wearing night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest a
nd $75 million dollars worth of cocaine. This opened up the floodgates to corrup
tion involving drug-smuggling, police cover-ups and murder. Three books, The Blu
egrass Conspiracy, Means to an End and The FBI KIller all detail the 'good ol' b
oy' tradition of corruption in the 70s and 80s.
* 1997 Kent Downey, former director of operations for the state House of Rep
resentatives, pleads guilty to federal prostitution and gambling charges. Legisl
ators and lobbyists had been entertained by naked adult entertainers during gamb
ling, golf and sex junkets. There were even liquor-fueled parties in a Capitol o
ffice with a 'condom tree' on display. Franklin County Circuit Judge, William Gr
aham, ruled to keep the 73 legislators and government employees' names from bein
g released to the public stating the material is "highly personally embarassing"
* December 1999 Escort agency owner, Deborah Wardlaw, threatens to sue the c
ity and call out officers involved in extortion if the city passes an ordinance
regulating private adult entertainment. Ms. Wardlaw claims to have been threaten
ed by the officers involved and starts to go public. Days later Ms. Wardlaw is f
ound murdered in her apartment and the officers she named as threatening her are
placed on her case to investigate her murder. The case is currently unsolved.
* 2000 Lexington City Council passes the new Escort Ordinance. This new ord
inance basically boils down to stating that the city knows escorts are equivalen
t to prostitutes. But, as long as the agency and the escort pay their fees they
may continue providing prostitution with less obstruction from the city and vice
* 2009 State Auditor, Crit Luallen, begins investigations into KaCo, Kentuck
y League of Cities and the Lexington Airport Board. In each of these cases there
were findings of rampant corruption. Again, public credit cards were used to ch
arge thousands of dollars to high-end strip-clubs and escorts.
* 2010 Local elections begin and continue with more accusations of corruptio
n and vice. First, I use the campaign to bring to Lexington's attention the unso
lved murder of Deborah Wardlaw and other city corruption. Mayor Newberry claims
that the police officers that may have murdered Ms. Wardlaw are important and De
borah's life was not and thus the reason he won't investigate the officers for m
urder (See attached video). One of the officers mentioned by Deborah Wardlaw as
threatening her is currently running for Constable, Harry Winings, and another f
ormer escort agency owner is running for the mayor's office, Will McGinnis.
Currently, city employee, Patrick Johnston, has made accusations of fraud and co
rruption involving the city's insurance procurement process. The fraud allegatio
ns involve the Kentucky League of Cities and ACE insurance, the company KLC brou
ght in to handle the city's business. When the allegations first came out, Patri
ck Johnston's job was eliminated due to a routine audit and cut-backs.
The All-tech World Equestrian Games will bring the world to Lexington and Lexing
ton to the world starting in August. Will Lexington be able to return to it's ro
ots of beautiful women and fast horses or will we remain famous having fast wome
n and beautiful horses?
I'll be following this story and the stories from Lexington's courthouses weekly
. Please feel free to comment, contact me or add any information pertaining to t
his article.
Fred E. Bunney Confronts Mayor Newberry About His Statements