Cumberland Times-News

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November 28, 2012

Ridgeley mayor under investigation in credit card flap, sheriff says

RIDGELEY, W.Va. — Ridgeley Mayor Jim Twigg is under a criminal investigation for misuse of a government-issued credit card, according to Mineral County Sheriff Craig Fraley.

At a town meeting held Tuesday, Twigg said there was no investigation.

Confirmation has been received by the Times-News, through email communication, that an investigation is ongoing.

“This is a criminal investigation and if charges are filed they would be in January’s grand jury,” said Fraley.

The sheriff’s office had requested the state auditor’s fraud unit to come to Ridgeley to check the books.

Twigg said in the meeting that the auditor has checked his card twice.

“I need to do some verification where receipts were not available,” Twigg said at the meeting.

Twigg has paid back $407 to the town already for questionable charges.

The misuse of the government credit card, known as a purchase card or P-card, centered around travel.

“He got paid for trips and things that he went on. He was double-dipping, so to speak,” said Ridgeley resident Bill Shepherd at a previous town meeting.

Twigg has apparently admitted at the Town Hall, during a special meeting, that he made a “mistake,” according to Shepherd.

“It’s a known fact that it (card misuse) has been a problem in the past; there’s been several warnings in the past about the same situation,” said Ridgeley resident Jake Ryan following Tuesday’s meeting.

Twigg has refused to step down during the audit despite a petition circulating asking him to do so.

Mineral County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Courrier, who would be involved in removing the mayor, can’t do anything at this point.

“I can’t do anything on it until I get the (audit) report,” said Courrier.

Courrier said it could be difficult to have him step down during the process.

“There is no mechanism for him (to be required) to step aside,” said Courrier. “There is nothing in the town charter on it, either.”

No time frame was given for the publication of the audit report, which is still ongoing.

Contact Greg Larry at  glarry@times-news.com.

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