CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office recently led an investigation that resulted in the indictment of a contractor operating in the Mountain State.
“Our office leaves no stone unturned when investigating fraudulent and deceptive business practices,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Our diligence ensures taxpayers will be protected and schemers will be brought to justice.”
The grand jury indictment charged Jonathan Blake Comer with obtaining money by false pretenses. Comer was a contractor in Nicholas County at the time doing business as Jon Comer Construction LLC.
The Greenbrier County Solid Waste Authority hired Comer’s company to upgrade its recycling drop-off and storage building for a county-wide program. The Solid Waste Authority paid $73,500 in advance for the construction, but the project was never started.
The project received public funds through a $150,000 grant from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Seeing as construction never took place, the Solid Waste Authority was in violation of the grant’s terms and must repay $150,000 to the DEP.
The DEP’s Rehabilitation Environmental Action Program (REAP) Recycling Assistance Grants Program awards funding to state solid waste authorities, county commissions, municipalities, private industries and nonprofit organizations.
Comer faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.
The Attorney General’s office conducted the investigation, and a member of the staff testified this month before the grand jury. The Greenbrier County Prosecutor’s Office is handling the prosecution.