CHARLESTON (AP) — State ethics officials will hold a hearing to determine whether Kanawha County Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson used his office for personal gain.
The Charleston Gazette reports that an ethics complaint was filed against Hutchinson in 2009 alleging that he might have misused his position.
Officials for the West Virginia Ethics Commission decided late last month there was probable cause to believe Hutchinson might have violated state ethics laws. Ethics officials say Hutchinson used his office for personal gain by using a county-issued vehicle to drive his son to and from school, bought personal items with a parks-issued credit card and used a parks system vendor to repair his personal golf clubs.
Officials also allege Hutchinson used his position to arrange discounts or free services at park facilities for friends or organizations and let a friend use a parks account to buy golf clubs. The account was later paid off. They also say Hutchinson accepted gift baskets from a parks board vendor and free merchandise from a golf supplies vendor.
Hutchinson has declined comment on the allegations. A hearing date has not been set in the case.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said he found out about the probable-cause finding on Friday.
“I’m very concerned,” Carper said, “but I just don’t know enough about it.”
He said the allegations against Hutchinson in the probable-cause order were not specific, and there might be mitigating circumstances.
“There’s two sides to most stories,” Carper said.
“I want to see what the (parks) board has to say.”