CHARLESTON — A housing developer who had his business records seized last week by the US Attorney General’s Office is getting them back, without being criminally charged.
According to a press release from Benjamin L. Bailey, attorney for Doug Pauley (the developer in question), the US Attorney General’s Office has indicated they do not intend to pursue criminal charges, provided Pauley continues his “cooperation.”
Pauley and one of his parent companies helped build the Milton Place housing development north of Point Pleasant in the Grandview Heights area off of Fairgrounds Rd. The development was widely opposed by residents and the Mason County Commission.
Attached to the press release from Bailey on Tuesday, was a letter from the US Attorney General’s Office, Southern District of West Virginia, saying: “This letter confirms that, pursuant to our agreement of Oct. 29, 2011, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) does not intend to pursue criminal charges against your client Douglas E. Pauley or his affiliated entities, provided that Mr. Pauley and those entities continue to cooperate with the USAO as we have agreed. I will send a letter fully setting forth the agreement in the next couple of days.”
The letter, dated Oct. 31, was from R. Booth Goodwin, II, US Attorney, signed by Steven R. Ruby, Assistant US Attorney.
A call to Bailey’s office was not immediately returned and no one was available at the USAO to shed some light on what this continued “cooperation” and agreement between the two parties entails.
Bailey’s press release included the following about Pauley - “He (Pauley) and his staff have worked hard and cooperated fully with the US Attorney’s office since this investigation began. They are thankful to have their documents returned so promptly and will continue to cooperate with the authorities while restoring the regular operations of the businesses.”
Pauley is said to have developed and operated more than 45 apartment complexes across West Virginia for 20 years, including the new Milton Place.
The Point Pleasant Register reported last week that the land on which Milton Place currently sits was formerly owned by West Virginia State Treasurer John Perdue and wife Robin - the Perdues lobbied for the project to local officials. The deed to the 11.3 acres changed hands last December, going from the Perdues to Milton Place Limited Partnerships.
John Perdue also sits on the West Virginia Housing Development Fund’s board - a board which approves low-interest loans and tax credits for developments like Milton Place - Milton Place was later approved for $3.67 million in federal stimulus funding for the project through the West Virginia Development Fund. Mason County Commissioners were asked for but refused to write a letter of support for Milton Place; a letter they were told was crucial to the project receiving any funding from the development fund, yet Pauley received the funds anyway.
A Charleston newspaper reported this week that “Perdue’s designee to the Housing Development Fund board — a former assistant treasurer — recused himself from the meeting while board members discussed and voted on Pauley’s funding request (for Milton Place) last year, Housing Fund Executive Director Joe Hatfield said Monday.”
Agency officials told the newspaper they would release a copy of the meeting minutes on Tuesday. A call to the same agency by the Point Pleasant Register requesting a copy of the minutes was not returned by press time.