A new report from the state Legislative Auditor’s Office found West Virginia officials did not abide by state purchasing laws when hiring out work on $38 million microwave communication towers built with in federal money.
Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred told lawmakers on Tuesday that state emergency services communications director Joe Gonzalez, homeland security director Jimmy Gianato and members of a team charged with dispersing grant funds oversaw or committed the illegal acts.
But Allred said just because their actions were illegal, doesn’t mean they are guilty of a crime.
“That’s really up to the U.S. prosecutor to decide, not for us,” he said.
In other news…
- The auditor’s office also released a study on West Virginia State University, finding that university employees misused the school’s purchase and travel cards. The school also failed to keep track of thousands of dollars of school-owned property, including computer equipment and iPads, auditors found. West Virginia State officials say they accept the report’s findings, and note newly-appointed president Brian Hemphill has taken steps “to insure that this does not ever happen again.”
- A new poll from Public Policy Polling puts Rep. Shelley Moore Capito 14 points ahead of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in the race for U.S. Senate. Both Republicans and Democrats see good news in the results.
- In Mingo County news, the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute has appointed the Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office to handle the case against Tennis Maynard (the man accused of murdering Sheriff Eugene Crum). Also, Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury has agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiring to thwart an FBI drug investigation into Crum. In return, federal investigators plan to drop charges against Thornsbury alleging he tried to frame the husband of an ex-lover.
Tags: Election 2014, Eugene Crum, Jimmy Gianato, Joe Gonzalez, Legislative Auditor's Office, Michael Thornsbury, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, West Virginia State University