RIDGELEY, W.Va. — Investigation of Ridgeley Mayor Jim Twigg’s alleged misuse of a government-issued credit card found potential instances of wrongdoing, according to a state audit. Mineral County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Courrier will decide whether to move forward with criminal prosecution.
Findings of the audit were discussed at a Wednesday meeting called by Councilwoman Tanya Ryan and Finance Commissioner Tom Hedrick.
The audit lists eight charges for $415.81 to Twigg’s card, known as a “P-card,” for which he previously reimbursed the town. “Yes, it was wrong. I made poor judgment and I paid the town back,” said Twigg.
Courrier will have 60 days to inform the state auditor on whether he wishes to go forward with an indictment or not. Courrier has forwarded the information to the police officer in charge of the investigation.
The audit also noted 56 charges made on two Ridgeley P-card holder’s accounts totaling $2,916.07 were not adequately documented and, “the validity and purpose of the charges could not be determined.” All of the P-card charges with the exception of one purchase totaling $99.32 were made on one card.
At the time of the audit, Hedrick, Town Clerk Rene Martz and Police Chief Mike Miller had P-cards. Hendrick no longer has his.
“Three out of four cardholders kept accurate documentation except for one instance,” said Hedrick.
Since the audit, each cardholder is responsible for their own receipts, according to Twigg. A policy was started in November that requires each person to review the P-card statements, staple the receipts to it and forward it to Martz.
One resident questioned whether Twigg turned in every receipt.
“Can I say that I turned in every receipt, no. Can I say Renee lost some receipts, possibly,” said Twigg.
Martz indicated that she didn’t lose any receipts and that she previously kept all the receipts before the policy was enacted.
Ryan said that every P-card holder was trained on how to properly use the card.
“You were all informed properly how to use the cards, what to use them for and what not to use them for,” said Ryan. “I think it was verbally said numerous times to everybody in the office, do not use it for food and do not use it for gas, but it continued to happen. Jim is good man. I have never had a problem with him. It’s the fact this kind of thing keeps happening to Ridgeley over and over.”
Hedrick said the per diem rule for food was made after April and prior to that the P-card was used for food.
“We did go to per diem in April to cut off the food expenses on the purchase card,” said Hedrick.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at firstname.lastname@example.org.