HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Delegate Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, today called for the removal, either by resignation or firing, of state Real Estate Division Executive Director Jon Amores due to the Division’s failure to stop the waste of nearly $1 million worth of taxpayer money on property the state was no longer using.
Delegate Sobonya also supports fellow Delegates Gary Howell, R-Mineral, and Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, in calling for an investigation into the Division.
“The Division’s inability over the past three years to stop lease payments on the Middletown Mall property is a clear failure to effectively manage taxpayer funds and public properties,” Delegate Sobonya said. “This kind of waste is inexcusable, and shows new leadership is needed to prevent this from happening again.”
Delegates Howell and Hamrick, who lead the Committee on Government Organization in the House of Delegates, earlier today called for a complete investigation into the state’s Real Estate Division to determine if the state is paying for any other properties it is no longer using.
Delegate Sobonya supports this effort and hopes the legislative investigation will rein in waste and abuse in the state’s property management system.
“The Middletown Mall situation is just one instance of something falling through the cracks, and who knows what other waste we might uncover as we move forward,” Delegate Sobonya said. “This situation should serve as a call for a top-down reformation of how the state handles property, and I hope Gov. Jim Justice and the Legislature will work to make sure taxpayers’ money is better handled in the future.”
Delegate Sobonya praised the work of State Auditor J.B. McCuskey and his office staff for investigating and uncovering the Middletown Mall situation.
“I served with Auditor McCuskey for several years in the House, and am grateful that he is actively fulfilling his pledge to find waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money,” Delegate Sobonya said. “This year we worked together to incorporate the provisions of the Budget Spending and Transparency Act I have championed for many years into his Open Governmental Finances Act bill, House Bill 4016. Having laws like this on the books will continue to help identify wasteful government spending.
“We must have constant vigilance to ensure taxpayer money is handled with the respect and transparency that our citizens deserve,” Delegate Sobonya said.