CHARLESTON — A petition has been filed with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals regarding where Gov. Jim Justice lives.
The petition for writ of mandamus was filed by Del. G. Isaac Sponaugle III (D-Pendleton) on Sept. 18 with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
Sponaugle had previously filed the lawsuit in Kanawha Circuit Court in June but had failed to provide the state the required 30 days notice before filing, so it was dismissed last week.
In the petition, Sponaugle notes that he is seeking the answer to whether or not it is mandatory for the governor to reside at the seat of government during the terms of office.
Justice was elected in 2016 and took office in January 2017, but Justice has not resided in Charleston since he took office and, instead, has maintained his residence in Lewisburg.
Justice has admitted to staying in the Governor's Mansion no more than a handful of nights since he took office.
Sponaugle's petition states that Justice does not come to Charleston to work regularly and that members of the West Virginia Legislature have raised concerns over Justice's "chronic absenteeism" and its effect on the productivity of state government.
In regards to where he does his work, Justice has been quoted as saying, "it doesn't matter whether I do it in the back of a Suburban or from the top of the dome," according to the petition.
"Certain scandals, mismanagement of public monies, no communication with cabinet secretaries and a decrease in productivity of state government has occurred under the respondent's tenure as governor," the petition states.
Sponaugle claims he has been injured by Justice's poor job performance due to him rarely showing up. He claims Justice has failed his duties under the West Virginia Constitution.
Back in June, during a press conference, Justice said, “I’ll only stay at the Mansion when it’s convenient to me."
When the lawsuit was previously filed, Justice released a statement regarding the lawsuit in which he said the petition was filled with falsehoods of which he would address each and every one at the proper time.
"It’s a shame that Delegate Sponaugle has chosen to engage in a political stunt that has no purpose but to waste the valuable time and resources of the executive branch and the West Virginia court system.
"Delegate Sponaugle, a far-left politician, never brought this up when I was a Democrat, but now that an election year is upon us he chose to file this lawsuit to score cheap political points.
"Frankly, I don’t want to waste our people’s money, have people cook for me, do laundry, let me have party after party on the taxpayer’s dime and cater to my every whim. I’m here to serve, not to be served.”