UPDATE: W.Va. Ethics Panel to Hire Debt Collector to Collect Ex-Mayor's Unpaid Fines

By: Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, WSAZ News Staff, The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 8/2/12 @ 3 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Ethics Commission says they are going after a former Kanawha Valley mayor.

The commission voted Thursday afternoon to hire a debt collection agency to get more than $25,000 in fines from former Dunbar Mayor Roger Wolfe.

The commission fined Wolfe last year after they say he misused funds and reimbursements during his time as mayor.

Wolfe told us Thursday, he still isn't going to pay. Wolfe says he was treated unfairly during his original hearing and regardless, he can't afford it.



UPDATE 1/23/12 @ 7:55 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Former Dunbar Mayor Roger Wolfe is being sued by the state Ethics Commission over his refusal to pay more than $25,000 in ethics fines and related costs.

Wolfe is asking the court to reconsider the fines, which he claims are excessive.

The Associated Press reports that the commission filed the lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court in December and Wolfe filed a response last week.

The commission fined Wolfe $15,000 last July and ordered him to pay the city back more than $5,700 in unauthorized reimbursements for meals, mileage and telephone expenses.

Wolfe also was ordered to reimburse the commission almost $5,700 in legal expenses.



UPDATE 11/3/11 @ 10 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Ethics Commission is taking the former mayor of Dunbar mayor to court in an attempt to make him pay thousands of dollars in fines.

The commission fined Roger Wolfe nearly $25,000 last July, citing misused funds and unauthorized reimbursements during his time as mayor.

Wolfe says the decision is unethical and he will go to jail before giving them a dime.

He hasn't paid any of the fines yet.



UPDATE: 10/17/11 @ 12:35 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W. Va. (AP) - The former mayor of Dunbar says he won't pay $25,000 in fines levied by the West Virginia Ethics Commission.

Roger Wolfe is refusing to pay the fine because he contends the commission's decision was unethical.

Ethics officials ordered Wolfe to pay the city back more than $5,700 in unauthorized reimbursements for meals, mileage and telephone expenses.

He was also told to reimburse the commission almost $5,700 in legal expenses. The commission also levied a $15,000 punitive fine.

Ethics Commission Director Theresa Kirk says ethics officials could go to Kanawha Circuit Court to try to force Wolfe to pay.

In 2008, a special three-judge panel appointed by the West Virginia Supreme Court ordered Wolfe removed from office for violating state law and Dunbar's city charter.



UPDATE: Sunday, 7/17 @ 8:15 p.m.
DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- An ex-mayor from Dunbar says he's followed the law even after the West Virginia Ethics Commission fined him thousands of dollars for his actions while in office.

Former Dunbar Mayor Roger Wolfe says a plot to throw him out of office was brewing for months.

Wolfe says it was a constant struggle between him and city council as tension built over raises, money and expenses during his time in office from 2005 until 2008.

"Dunbar suffered three years of municipal gridlock," current mayor Jack Yeager said. "All government is a government of laws and not of people so nobody is above the law."

The state ethics commission says Wolfe misused money, recently fining him more than $25,000.

This comes after six former city council members say he would reimburse himself for mileage, food, and gas without council ever knowing.

"I followed the law -- the city law and the state law," former mayor Roger Wolfe said. "We made a disposition that since I was not going to take my salary, they would pay my expenses."

Wolfe says the claims from former council members are just not true.

"I have never, never intentionally used my office for personal or private gain," Wolfe said. "They had a plot, they had a plot to remove me from office and humiliate and disgrace my name in this city."

Wolfe says the agreement was verbal and never recorded during a finance meeting in 2008.

He calls every expense legitimate because he was not collecting a salary from the city.

Council members argue he would spend and provide money without approval, causing him to be removed from office in 2008.

The ethics commission agreed with council and publicly reprimanded Wolfe, ordering him to never return to public office.

Wolfe says he is now taking the law in his hands, filing an opposition to the ethics commission's decision, hoping his innocence will be proven in the paperwork.

Wolfe says he has always followed the policy that was in place to get reimbursed for his expenses.

He even accuses council members of lying to help kick him out of office.

The ethics commission has given Wolfe 90 days to pay back $15,000 to the city and more than $6,000 he was reimbursed while serving as mayor.



ORIGINAL STORY
DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A former mayor has been ordered to pay more than $25,000 for misusing money during his time in office, but he says it's a misunderstanding.

Roger Wolfe was the Mayor of Dunbar from 2005-2008, when he was removed from the position for reimbursing himself for mileage, food and gas without members of city council knowing.

Thursday, the West Virginia Ethics Commission fined Wolfe $15,000 dollars for his actions.

He was also ordered to pay almost $5,698.07 for the investigation into the case and make restitution to the City of Dunbar for $5757.47.

Wolfe says, "There was an agreement to pay those expenses since I wasn't taking a salary. I gave $140,000 dollars back to the City of Dunbar, since I didn’t take a salary. For 30 years there was a policy in place to pay the expenses."

Wolfe has filed an ethics complaint against the six council members.

Ethics officials also ordered Wolfe to be publicly reprimanded and he cease and desist from expending public funds for unauthorized personal expenses if elected to a public service position in the future.


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