Flood report questions if homes were built under reconstruction program

CHARLESTON — As West Virginia recognizes the two-year anniversary of a deadly flood, investigators issued a scathing report about contracts that were supposed to frame the state’s long-term response.
West Virginia has been unlawfully operating under multiple long-term flood relief contracts worth millions of federal dollars, a report from the Legislative auditor’s office concluded. The audit questions whether any homes were actually completed under the Rise West Virginia reconstruction program
Lawmakers seemed stunned by the findings June 24.
“No homes have been rebuilt?” asked Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion.
The 2016 flooding that left 23 dead and an estimated 1,200 homes destroyed. Ten inches of rain fell over 24 hours in some areas, damaging businesses, roads and water and sewer systems.
The former administration of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, late in its term, made an emergency request to use a consultant to administer federal relief funds. But controversy about the state’s response to long-term flood relief has all been over decisions made during the current administration of Gov. Jim Justice.
No one from Justice’s office or the state Department of Commerce was present to appear before the Post Audits Committee of the Legislature. “I’m disappointed that there’s no one here,” said Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.
The administration forced out Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher and the agency’s general counsel, Josh Jarrell, whose signature was on the contracts.
Justice claimed he had no way of knowing until recently about the problems West Virginia was having with long-term flood relief. That’s despite the many constituents who complained for months about Rise and its red tape.

To continue reading, log into your account or explore our subscription options:

More Government

One education tax credit bill narrowly passes Finance; other one dies without a vote
The House Finance Committee spent just overtwo hours hashing over 168, the so-called Equal Opportunity EducationScholarship program, and barely passed it, with two Republican members crossingover.
June 18, 2019 - 4:32 pm
Huge crowd turns out for F.A.I.R. annexation meeting
Morgantown City Manager Paul Brake has said he expects a contentious response as the city attempts to annex thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses.
June 17, 2019 - 10:22 pm
House moves yet another omnibus education bill
CHARLESTON, W.Va. The House of Delegates is considering yet another version of an omnibus education bill.
June 17, 2019 - 10:15 pm
House of Delegates takes up education reform bills
With red-shirted teachers packing thegalleries, hallways and meeting rooms, the House of Delegates convened Mondaymorning to take up education betterment.
June 17, 2019 - 12:22 pm