Your state income taxes at work – keeping the McGraws employed

By The West Virginia Record | Mar 13, 2014

“How did that goon get a job here?”

“Shh! He’s the boss’s nephew.”

Ah, yes, the good old days when Darrell McGraw was state attorney general -- fondly recalled by many of the Democratic members of our state legislature, and no one else.

Nepotism is bad enough in a family business when only the owners (and possibly their customers) suffer the consequences of incompetent kinsmen on the premises. It’s worse when it occurs in a publicly-owned company and stockholders and unrelated employees are also affected, and worse still when public officials subject constituents to the costs and inconveniences of good-for-nothing relatives.

Worst of all, though, is when that parasite on the payroll -- father or mother, husband or wife, brother or sister, son or daughter, nephew or niece, first or second cousin once or twice removed -- is also a crook.

That’s crook, not Cook. The jury is still be out on Edward Cook, nephew-in-law of Wyoming County Circuit Judge (and former State Supreme Court Justice) Warren McGraw, Darrell’s brother, but things don’t look good.

At the end of January, the Georgia State Bar filed a formal complaint against Cook, accusing him of making improper withdrawals from his former law firm’s trust accounts for his personal use -- to the tune of three-quarters of a million dollars.

Where does the nepotism come in?

Former AG Darrell McGraw hired brother Warren’s nephew-in-law’s firm at least twice to provide legal services for our state -- once in 2001 when Cook worked for Provost Umphrey and again later when he had teamed up with his now ex-partners in Cook, Hall & Lampros.

Of course, it could have been completely coincidental, completely aboveboard, when McGraw directed state business and money to Cook and company.

Nevertheless, now that Quick Draw is gone and the question of nepotism is moot, the Democratic members of the legislature may want to propose an ethics measure to address a problem they long ignored and that no longer exists with the new attorney general.

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