Lawmaker files suit over where West Virginia governor lives
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A Democratic state delegate is suing Republican Gov. Jim Justice demanding that he live in the county where West Virginia’s capital city is located.
Assistant Minority Whip Isaac Sponaugle submitted a writ of mandamus requesting the Kanawha County Circuit Court order Justice to live in the county, news outlets reported. Justice has said several times that he does not live at the governor’s mansion in Charleston, but at his Lewisburg home in Greenbrier County.
The state constitution requires the governor to live at the government’s seat in Kanawha County and says a governor shall also keep records there.
Sponaugle accused Justice of recent poor performance resulting from him not being there. The lawsuit he filed cites news reports and says scandals, mismanagement of public money, no communication with cabinet secretaries and a decrease in state government productivity are due to Justice’s habitual absenteeism.
The lawsuit said one example was that citizens and lawmakers did not know where Justice was when teachers and school workers went on strike statewide and thousands of public employees occupied the Capitol complex.
Justice said in a statement that he has not been served with the court documents, but his counsel has reviewed a copy and believes the petition is without merit. “It’s a shame that Delegate Sponaugle has chosen to engage in a political stunt,” Justice said.
Justice said Sponaugle is “a far-left politician” who had not been concerned about his residency when he was a Democrat.