Ex-Lawrence mayor nearing end of prison sentence, has online profile describing himself as ‘leadership coach’

photo by: Nick Krug

Former Lawrence mayor Jeremy Farmer briefly leaves the Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse before returning for his sentencing on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Kan.

It’s now approaching a year since former Lawrence mayor Jeremy Farmer was sentenced to a stay in federal prison for stealing money from the local food bank he once led.

That means it’s about time for him to be getting out.

I confirmed last week that Farmer is scheduled to be freed on July 24, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons office of public affairs.

In the meantime, Farmer is staying at a federal so-called halfway house, the Residential Reentry Center overseen by the Bureau of Prisons’ Kansas City, Kan., re-entry field office, according to the office of public affairs’ email response to my inquiry. Such centers are responsible for providing federal offenders “with community-based services that will assist with their reentry needs,” the office said.

Farmer was sentenced on Aug. 15, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. He began his 10-month prison sentence Sept. 26, 2017, at Administrative U.S. Penitentiary Thomson in Thomson, Ill., in the all-male facility’s adjacent minimum-security camp, I previously reported.

Even with prison nearly behind him, however, Farmer’s sentence is a long way from being complete. The judge ordered his prison stay to be followed by two years of supervised release and also ordered him to pay more than $81,000 in restitution.

Farmer was charged in August 2016 and pleaded guilty the following month to stealing money from Just Food. He admitted to embezzling by fraud more than $5,000 from Just Food from 2013 until he resigned in August 2015, and concealing it by “adjusting” QuickBooks entries and financial statements provided to the Just Food board.

Farmer was hired as executive director of Just Food in 2011. He was elected to the Lawrence City Commission in April 2013 and chosen by fellow commissioners to become mayor in April 2015.

Days after resigning from Just Food, he resigned as the city’s mayor as well.

In recent weeks, as he nears his release, Farmer appears to have resurfaced online.

On his LinkedIn profile Farmer describes himself as a leadership coach and entrepreneur. He’s been tweeting — lots of inspirational quotes mixed with other musings. He also has a website with a blog and links to podcasts.

Farmer’s online profiles and website disclose that he’s the former mayor of Lawrence and, without a lot of detail, that he got off track.

“I grew up in Lawrence, KS, became a pastor, got married, left the church, got divorced, moved back home, became one of the youngest Mayors in the history of the town and then made some poor choices which cost me all of it,” he said on his website. “As a result, I spent 7300 hours in a federal prison camp. Now, I’m chasing the American dream all over again…”

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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