Ethics complaint filed against Marmet mayor Bill Pauley

June 30, 2015 by joelebert

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Another close look at West Virginia’s greyhound breeders fund

June 30, 2015 by joelebert

Here’s an accompanying post to yesterday’s story on the $77 million in subsidies handed out to West Virginia greyhound breeders since 2002.

The following are the top 30 individual recipients (people or business) to receive money from the greyhound breeders fund.

Monroe Racing                            $4,177,871.33

McMillon Kennel                        $3,387,436.35

Tomblin Kennel                          $3,232,509.99

Miner, Dean                                $3,124,851.89

Jackson, James                          $2,905,053.37

Geter, Greg                                $2,823,463.22

Pacheco, Ricardo                        $2,804,120.66

Riggin Racing                              $2,717,391.30

Maupin Jr, Harvey                    $2,669,663.36

Schweizer, William J                  $2,613,518.01

Douglas, Dianna C                      $2,608,697.66

Cavender, Rondis                       $2,594,078.56

Stolirchick, Jack                         $2,325,903.79

Strong, Greg                               $2,134,421.95

Country Roads Kennel              $2,057,414.70

Carbonneau, Paul                       $1,971,109.98

Strong, Louise                             $1,774,643.26

White, Michele S                         $1,562,619.56

Piece, Richard L                          $1,500,403.68

Fynmore, Michael J                    $1,405,648.56

Mud River Greyhounds             $1,316,695.53

Gibson, William S                        $1,039,161.97

Caldwell, Archie                           $1,023,739.66

Abrahamson, Janice                    $1,019,286.61

Crabtree, Randall L                     $1,014,441.31

Salem, Thomas                            $850,380.62

Raines, S. Lester                         $840,731.88

Klosterman, Kermit                    $834,098.40

Once you add individuals and their businesses together you get a different list.

Here are the top 10 recipients of the greyhound breeders fund since 2002.

1) $5.1 million – Monroe Racing/Delmos Monroe

2) $4.9 million – Joe and Diana Douglas

3) $4.3 million – The Tomblins (Freda, Carl, Carl II, Tomblin Kennel)

4)  $3.8 million – Patrick McMillon/McMillon Kennel/Ralph McMillon

5) $3.3 million – Henry and Loretta Maupin

6) $3.0 million – Cavender Greyhounds/Rondis Cavender

7) $2.9 million – Dean Miner

8) $2.6 million – Greg Geter

9) $2.6 million – Ricardo Pacheco

10) $2.5 million – Riggin Racing Inc.

Gov. Tomblin issues statement on SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling

June 26, 2015 by Samuel Speciale

Following today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued the following  statement:

“Since the federal court decision in October 2014, West Virginia has recognized same-sex marriages and state agencies have taken the necessary steps to ensure equal protection. The Supreme Court’s ruling confirms those actions, and I continue to encourage all West Virginians, regardless of their personal beliefs, to uphold our state’s tradition of treating one another with dignity and respect.”
Before the court’s decision, same-sex marriage was legal in only 37 states and Washington, D.C.

Cole endorsed by several state Republicans

June 23, 2015 by Samuel Speciale

The endorsements for Bill Cole keep coming in.

Cole, a 2016 gubernatorial candidate and the current West Virginia Senate President , was endorsed on Tuesday by every Republican member of the state Senate as well as 49 Republican members of the House of Delegates.

Speaking on behalf of Senate Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael had this to say:

“Bill Cole has been our leader — helping elect the first Republican majority in 84 years and providing the leadership in this year’s session that dramatically reformed our legal system and rolled back burdensome regulations that hurt our energy industry putting our economy on track to grow and create jobs. He is the right man to lead our state forward.”

In response to the 67 endorsements, Cole issued the following statement:

“I am honored to receive the support of so many legislators from throughout the state, and these leaders will be the key foundation for this campaign to get West Virginia moving again.”

“These legislators did a great job during the session tackling tough issues — from fighting the EPA’s War on Coal, to making prevailing wage fairer, to combating our growing drug epidemic. I look forward to working with them to reform our tax code, improve our education system and strengthen our transportation network.”

According to the Cole for Governor campaign, Cole has the most endorsements of any gubernatorial candidate. In addition to last week’s endorsements from House Speaker Tim Armstead and U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins, Cole also is backed by GOPAC, the leading Republican training organization. Cole’s campaign also notes that Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole participated in campaign announcements in their respective cities.

Other major candidates include billionaire Greenbrier Hotel owner Jim Justice and Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, both of whom are Democrats. Quintin Caldwell, Tyler Cloud Dixon, Caroll Garnes, Phil Hudok, David Dunstan Moran, Curtis Robinson, Andrew Utterback and Edwin Ray Vanover also are throwing their hats in the ring.

Another unsurprising endorsement

June 19, 2015 by joelebert

Here’s some truly Friday news.

Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, received another not so surprising political endorsement ahead of the 2016 gubernatorial race.

From another press release from the Cole campaign:

House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead has endorsed Senate President Bill Cole in the race for Governor. Armstead sent the following statement to the Cole campaign:

As Speaker, it has been my pleasure to work with Bill Cole as the President of the Senate. He has shown the type of bold and decisive leadership that is truly needed to move our state’s economy forward. I know he will bring the same pro-jobs, common sense approach to leading our state as our next Governor. I look forward to working with Governor Bill Cole to make great things for West Virginia happen.

“Speaker Armstead has been a partner in laying the foundation to get our economy moving again, fighting the EPA’s assault on our energy jobs, passing a fiscally responsible budget without raising taxes, and putting an end to abusive lawsuits that drive up insurance rates for West Virginians,” said President Cole. “It’s an honor to have Tim’s endorsement, and I look forward to working with him as Governor to get West Virginia moving again.“

Armstead’s announcement follows Congressman Evan Jenkins’ endorsement earlier this week. A group of 20 GOP leaders led by state Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole participated in Cole’s campaign announcement in Bluefield, WV and Charleston, WV on June 2, 2015, and GOPAC, the leading Republican training organization, endorsed Cole two days later.

It is only a matter of time before U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Congressmen Alex Mooney and David McKinley endorse the Senate president.

Cole endorsed by Congressman Jenkins

June 17, 2015 by joelebert

From a press release issued by Senate President Bill Cole’s campaign:

U.S. Congressman Evan Jenkins has endorsed Senate President Bill Cole in the race for Governor. Jenkins sent the following statement to the Cole campaign:

West Virginians must reject the failed policies of the past and embrace new ideas for a more prosperous future. West Virginia needs a leader that will create an environment for good paying jobs, strengthen our education system, fight the war on coal, improve our transportation needs and combat our growing drug epidemic. That’s why I’m proud to endorse Senator Bill Cole for governor of West Virginia – he is the only candidate capable of addressing and fixing the challenges facing our great state.

I have served with Bill in the West Virginia Senate and saw firsthand his commitment to our state and his belief that better days are ahead.  I am proud to support Bill as the next governor of West Virginia and know he will lead our state in the right direction.

Cole reacted by saying, “I’m honored and pleased to have the support of my friend Congressman Evan Jenkins. I look forward to working with him as Governor to fight the EPA’s assault on our coal and energy jobs that is destroying our families and devastating our communities.”  Cole further remarked, “Since announcing my campaign last week, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support across West Virginia for my campaign and encouraged by the number of fellow West Virginians who are joining this campaign to get our state moving again.“

Jenkins endorsement is the first major endorsement for Cole’s campaign since a group of 20 GOP leaders led by state Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones and Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole participated in Cole’s campaign announcement in Bluefield, WV and Charleston, WV two weeks ago. GOPAC, the leading Republican training organization, also endorsed Cole two days after his announcement.

Upson set to go to D.C. for roundtable, White House meeting

June 10, 2015 by joelebert

Delegate Jill Upson, R-Jefferson, is heading to D.C.

A press release issued this morning:

Delegate Jill Upson announced today that she has been invited and has accepted an invitation from the prestigious Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies to take part in their 2015 Legislative Roundtable in Washington, DC. She will join other leaders from across the nation in dialogue about issues affecting minority communities as a whole.

At the roundtable event, Upson and other leaders will discuss energy workforce, tech entrepreneurship and high speed internet access, policing and sentencing, and the challenges of the unbanked (e.g., payday lending, check cashing fees) with Congressional leadership including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, White House Officials, other top government officials, non-profit policy and private sector experts.

In addition, Upson will meet with Senior Administration Officials at the White House.

“I look forward to joining other legislative leaders to discuss issues important to not only minority communities, but all Americans. Meeting with leaders from the Congressional Black Caucus is a dialogue that I very much look forward to,” Upson said. “I take seriously my position of leadership and very much appreciate this opportunity.”

The Joint Center’s Leadership Roundtable is invitation-only, and will consist of 30 leading state and city legislative elected officials of color. The Roundtable will take place June 10-12 at The George Washington University Law School, and is being organized by Peter Groff, a former Colorado Senate President.

Interim session and tomorrow’s tax talks

June 8, 2015 by joelebert

Jammed packed day of significant issues during today’s interim sessions. This morning there is a discussion on leased integration (aka forced pooling) which failed during the 2015 session.

Earlier today there was a discussion on food hubs and teen pregnancy.

Later this morning the issue of drug testing of public assistance recipients will be revisited.

This afternoon, talks on the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, prevailing wage, racing in West Virginia, and an update on streamlined sales tax.

The Daily Mail’s Lexi Browning and I will be writing stories on some of the issues that come out of today’s session.

Tomorrow the tax reform committee will also be meeting.

Local municipalities and counties will be the focus of the latest round of tax talks. Here is the agenda and the speakers:

  • 9:00 a.m. Mechanics of Property Taxes
    • Jeff Amburgey, Director, Property Tax Division, WV State Tax Division
    • Mark Muchow, Deputy Secretary, West Virginia Department of Revenue
  • 10:30 a.m.       Discussion of Municipal Taxes
    • Lisa Dooley, Executive Director, Municipal League
    • The Honorable Steve Williams, Mayor of Huntington
    • The Honorable Andy McKenzie, Mayor of Wheeling
  • Noon               Lunch
  • 1 p.m.              Unleashing Capitalism: A Comprehensive Approach to Tax Reform with a focus on Capital Investment –
    • Dr. Russ Sobel
  • 2:30 p.m.         Perspectives on County Taxes
    • Patti Hamilton, Executive Director, Association of Counties
    • Jerry Knight, Property Tax Consultant, Association of Counties
  • 3:15 p.m.         County Government Tax Concerns
    • The Honorable Nancy Cartmill, Cabell County Commissioner
    • The Honorable Jack Woodrum, Summers County Commissioner
    • Vivian Parsons, Executive Director, County Commissioners Association

A few additional Derakhshan-related documents

June 3, 2015 by joelebert

Here is a copy of the current complaint against Dr. Iraj Derakhshan

Download (PDF, 7.89MB)

Here is a copy of the 2005 consent order:

Download (PDF, 104KB)

Here is a copy of one of the studies Dr. Derakhshan supplied the Daily Mail:

Download (PDF, 33KB)

And another document the doctor provided:

Download (PDF, 114KB)

To view a copy of all of the disciplinary actions Dr. Derakhshan has faced over the years, you can visit the state Board of Medicine’s website and look him up.

Interim jails chief no longer interim

May 29, 2015 by joelebert

A press release from the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety:

Interim regional jails Executive Director David Farmer has dropped the “acting” from his title after the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (RJA) Board of Directors chose him as permanent chief, effective immediately.

Board members selected Farmer late Thursday, after interviewing several finalists as part of a search process that began with the departure of jails chief Joe DeLong.

“The board made the decision that was in the best interests of our correctional officers and the future of RJA,” said Board Chairman Gary Ellyson II. “We had three great candidates to interview. We feel we made the best decision.”

Farmer first joined RJA in February 2002 as director of Inmate Services at the South Central Regional Jail, in Kanawha County. He became administrator of the South Western Regional Jail, in Logan County, in December 2011. He was promoted to RJA deputy chief of operations and as director of its training academy in August 2014.

“I am honored and extremely grateful for this opportunity,” Farmer said. “I sincerely believe the employees of the Regional Jail Authority are some of the hardest working and most dedicated in the State of West Virginia and they deserve to have leadership that provides them with full and unwavering support. Further, I intend to ensure that the Regional Jail Authority operates at the highest level of efficiency, professionalism, honesty and integrity on behalf of the counties, the State and the inmate population that we serve.”

Farmer was named acting executive director on March 31. RJA is part of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS).

“David Farmer’s passion for the agency’s success is evident and he is well-respected by the agency’s workforce,” said Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Joe Thornton, a board member. “I am looking forward to working closely with him to ensure that RJA continues to deliver on its public safety mission.”

RJA has more than 1,140 correctional officers and other full-time employees and a $100 million annual budget, funded by per-day, per-inmate fees. There are currently about 4,300 inmates in the 10-jail system.