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Logan County Commissioners mull over proposed lawsuit and strict accounting policy

Updated: Mar 8



Logan County Fire Coordinator Jimmy Porter asks the Logan County Commission to file a civil suit against the Logan County Number Two Fire Station and to set a policy requiring financial reporting from recipients of public funding. Logan County Prosecuting Attorney David Wandling takes issue with the legal points of Porter's presentation.


Robert Fields | WVOW News


LOGAN The Logan County Commission heard a request this week to file a lawsuit against a local volunteer fire department.


In 2022, Lisa Wimmer pleaded guilty to embezzling $40,000 of taxpayer funds from the Logan County Number Two Fire Station in Man. She was ordered to pay back the stolen funds and sentenced to probation.


During the first County Commission meeting in February, Logan County Fire Coordinator Jimmy Porter alleged that the initial amount was only a fraction of a total $150,000 embezzled at that fire station over the course of multiple years. In light of that information, Porter asked the Number Two Fire Station to file a civil suit against Wimmer for the remaining amount embezzled. The station responded, saying the saw no reason for any further action. The department did not believe any further funds were recoverable from a civil matter. According to the department’s response to Porter, Number Two currently prefers to establish good stewardship with the funds that they have.


During the most recent commission meeting on Monday, Porter presented the confession signed by Wimmer on July 18, 2022. According to Porter, that date is key in this case.


“What I understand to the best of my knowledge, and I’m not an attorney, but in West Virginia we have two years for civil action of any sort for anybody. I asked the fire department last year to do their civil duty. They did not.”


As a result of the fire station not pursuing further legal action, Porter asked commissioners to file a civil suit against the Number Two Fire Station fire station. According to Porter, the commission has until July 18 of this year to act.


Logan County Prosecuting attorney David Wandling, acting as counsel for the commission, took multiple issues with Porter’s request.


“I am sure that I don’t agree with you that the relevant date for the statute purposes is July 18 of 2022. I’m happy to take a look at the indictment and see whether we are within the statute of limitations for this. Okay? But I think that there are certainly more factors that are going to play into whether this statute has run or not than the date that she (Wimmer) was convicted or the date that she signed off on this petition to enter a guilty plea which is what this is part of.”


Wandling referenced Wimmer’s signed confession, which was one page of many pages in her court petition. Wandling continued, saying that the relevant date for the statute of limitations is only one issue out of a litany of problems he has with the legality of Porter’s proposed civil suit.


“I will say that I think there would be questions about whether or not the Man Number Two Fire Department itself would be liable for an intentional act admitted to or committed by another person.”


Wandling advised commissioners to hold off on any action until the matter could be looked into further.


On Wednesday’s edition of Ask the Attorney, Rob Kuenzel said that the statute of limitations in civil matters is typically based on the discovery of an incident.


“I don’t think he’s (Porter) correct in this,” Kuenzel said. “There came a point in time when they discovered the wrong, they said ‘hey, wait a minute, we’re missing money and we believe this person did it,’ so at that point in time, in my opinion, is when the statute of limitations would begin to run.”


Moreover, during the Monday meeting, Porter reintroduced his proposal for a county-wide policy which would require any entity that receives funding from the county commission to return within a set time with a full expenditure report. According to Porter, more accountability is necessary when dealing with taxpayer funding.


According to Wandling, a policy such as the one Porter suggests is unprecedented not only in the state, but in the nation.


“What I asked you, Jimmy, was if you had knowledge that any other county in the state of West Virginia used a policy like the one you’re proposing.”


Porter said that he did not.


“Do you have any knowledge that any other county anywhere in the United States of America has this type of policy,” Wandling asked.


Porter replied that he had not looked into the United States.


Wandling responded, “but you want me to do that?”


Despite the lack of precedent, some members of the public agreed with Porter’s proposal. Triadelphia resident Gerald Sloan brought up recent incidents where three separate Logan County fire departments were dealing with cases of embezzlement. Sloan posited that the county would not have had those cases if a policy was in place such as the one Porter requested.


Porter’s policy proposal has been put on the next commission meeting agenda. The Logan County Commission is set to meet next on March eighteenth.


*An earlier version of this story erroniously reported the next county commission meeting for March fourteenth.

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