West Virginia Record

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

House Judiciary Committee looks over evidence during hearings

State Supreme Court

By Kyla Asbury | Jul 27, 2018

Justin Robinson | Perry Bennett, W.Va. Legislature Photography

CHARLESTON — The House Judiciary Committee examined evidence from several exhibits today during the impeachment hearings.

The committee reviewed the total spending of the justices' chamber remodels, as well as framing done in the Supreme Court, state vehicles, book signings, Justice Allen Loughry's visit to Tucker County and the working lunches.

The delegates reviewed the invoices for the more than $1.5 million that was spend remodeling each of the justices' chambers. The cost of renovation for each office ranged from $111,035.19 for Justice Margaret Workman to $500,278.23 for Justice Robin Jean Davis.

Justice Beth Walkers office remodel cost $130,654.55; Justice Menis Ketchum's was $171,838.33; former Justice Brent Benjamin's was $264,301.22; and Loughry's was $363,013.42.

There was also more than $114,000 spent on framing from The Art Store. Only about $6,000 of that could be linked to specific justices' chambers, according to Justin Robinson of the Legislative Post Audits Division.

Robinson also noted that Davis provided about $10,000 in personal reimbursement for her chambers.

On the topic of working lunches, it was noted that the court spent a little more than $40,000 for five years.

The committee also discussed Loughry going to Tucker County when his father was to have a hearing in front of Magistrate Court in 2014. While Loughry did not speak at the hearing, he was there with his father. The case against his father was later dismissed.

Loughry had allegedly signed out a state vehicle for the trip, but the trip seemed to be personal business. The committee was tasked with deciding whether or not Loughry's appearance at the hearing constituted an exertion of his influence because of his judicial office.

Another issue the committee looked at involved book signing dates for Loughry's 2006 book "Don't Buy Another Vote, I Won't Pay for a Landslide: The Sordid And Continuing History of Political Corruption in West Virginia." The dates of his book signings coincided with dates he had signed out a state vehicle.

The committee adjourned until at least Aug. 5. The tour of the justices' chambers is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 6. 

Loughry was suspended in June after allegations were made about his office use and lying.

Loughry was charged in a two-dozen criminal indictment with lying to federal investigators, witness tampering, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

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