Associated Press Published

Problems Found in W.Va. Agriculture Department


A legislative audit of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture under Commissioner Gus Douglass has revealed erroneous and fraudulent reimbursements and other practices that may have cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The audit requested by current Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick was released Monday by the Legislative Auditor’s Office.

The audit cited seemingly “unethical” practices surrounding the farm loan program under Douglas between July 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012.

It cited, for instance, lending under the Rural Rehabilitation Loan program to the former commissioner’s son, and loans that were issued for non-agricultural purposes.

The audit also revealed Douglass may have fraudulently submitted travel reimbursements.

Contact Monday, Douglass referred questions to his attorneys. They did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press.