May 2, 2019

Ann Ali

‘We are happy to continue answering these complicated questions with straight, honest answers.’

Charleston, W.Va. — Republican candidate for governor Woody Thrasher spent hours Thursday openly and honestly answering questions for reporters about Jim Justice’s mystery surrounding his stalled flood recovery while Justice’s general counsel Brian Abraham continues to mislead our hard-working media and the public.

“It’s telling when our sitting governor not only lacks the information to field these simple questions but also feels the need to have his attorney speak for him nearly every day now,” said Thrasher for Governor Communications Director Ann Ali. “Our statements on these matters have never wavered, but time and again we’ve seen Justice and his mouthpieces shifting positions to whatever sounds right at the moment.”

Thrasher has openly answered many questions about the Rise flood recovery since announcing his run for office April 16. Horne was a contractor entered into under the previous administration under a state of emergency, and its contract with the state had a ceiling that was not to exceed a specific dollar amount. Thrasher himself looked into those fees upon taking office to ensure they were fair and in line with industry standards. When the need for massive change orders arose, Thrasher’s work experience as a project manager caused him to immediately and proactively take those concerns directly to the state Purchasing Division.

At no time did Justice or his team ever ask to meet with then-Commerce Secretary Thrasher to discuss the Rise program prior to the discussion of contract change order technicalities. But we have since seen the secrecy and spin Jim Justice’s team have tried to put on their involvement with this issue. Thrasher hasn't been in the Department of Commerce since June 2018 and since his departure, only 50 houses have been repaired.

In Abraham’s April 6, 2018 letter to Stanley Gimont , deputy assistant secretary for grants programs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Abraham said, “West Virginia has not considered shifting the administration of the funding to another agency …” nor “the prospect of a substantial reallocation of … funds from housing to economic development or infrastructure activities.”

That proved to be false. Even in his Jan. 9, 2019 State of the State Address , Jim Justice himself said “we’re going to try to redirect some of those dollars to do just that,” when addressing flood concerns and infrastructure.

Just this week, representatives from the governor's office confirmed for state lawmakers a shift in fund priorities, but curiously no one could identify who set those priorities.

“If Jim Justice considered any of the staff at Commerce to be ‘rogue’ it was probably just because they showed up for work every day,” Ali said. “We are happy to continue answering these complicated questions with straight, honest answers.”

Paid for by Woody Thrasher for Governor 2020