Investigation into West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue continues

By westvirginia on November 18, 2011
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State Treasurer John Perdue talks to press during his run for Governor of West Virginia. (Photo/Steven Allen Adams)

By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog

CHARLESTON — West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue is under increasing scrutiny from federal investigators, both for property transactions and political donations.

Yesterday an attorney for Perdue released a statement to the press, saying the four-term Boone County Democrat was cooperating with the FBI as it interviews his employees.

The United States Attorney’s Office expanded the investigation after first looking into a real estate transaction in Mason County involving Perdue, a friend and real estate developer, and the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, where Perdue is a board member.

Now investigators are looking into large political donations from employees of the Treasurer’s office to Perdue’s primary campaign for Governor of West Virginia. According to data from campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office and the state employee salary database maintained by the State Auditor’s office, Perdue received over $48,000 in political donations from current employees and employees who were working for Perdue in 2010.

Out of the 170 employees, 65 employees donated to Perdue’s campaign and 43 donated $1,000, which is the maximum donation allowed by law. One employee who donated $1,000 only made $4,930 in 2010. Most pf the employees who donated to Perdue made between $30,000 and $40,000 in 2010.

Mike Carey, Perdue’s attorney, said employees were instructed to cooperate fully in the investigation.

“Mr. Perdue encourages all persons contacted to cooperate with the investigation,” Carey said. “As such, Mr. Perdue’s office sent a memorandum to the employees advising them: ‘If for any reason you are contacted by a federal official, Treasurer Perdue encourages you to cooperate fully with the investigation.'”

“Ultimately, Mr. Perdue is confident that upon the conclusion of the United States Attorney’s Office’s investigation, it will be determined that he has complied with the requirements of the law in all respects,” he said.

According to the Charleston Gazette, Perdue is under investigation for his connection to a low-income housing project in Mason County. In December 2010, Perdue and his wife Robin sold 11 acres of property to real estate developer and Perdue campaign contributor Douglas E. Pauley for $215,000 for a 32-unit apartment complex for seniors and the handicapped. Robin Perdue is the director of the state Public Employees Grievance Board.

Despite objections from the Mason County Commission, the project went forward after Perdue’s representative on the board voted to change the rules, allowing projects to go forward without local support. The West Virginia Housing Development Fund, which has Perdue on its Board of Directors, gave Pauley $3.7 million from the federal stimulus. According to reports Perdue was not present and his representative at the meeting was out of the room when the decision was made.

Pauley, formerly a development director at the Housing Development Fund, owns several companies dealing with real estate, and has received millions from state and federal programs meant to provide low-cost housing to low-come families, seniors, and handicapped people.

In October, federal investigators took boxes of documents from Pauley’s office. Investigators also subpoenaed the Housing Development Fund for documents. On Nov. 1, the U.S. Attorney’s office said it wouldn’t charge Pauley as long as he cooperated in their investigation and returned the documents taken from his office.

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Posted under Abuse, Ethics, Featured, News, State Treasurer, West Virginia.
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