New allegations against McDonnell emerge
July 10th, 2013
09:43 AM ET
10 years ago

New allegations against McDonnell emerge

(CNN) - As Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell faces mounting pressure over his ties with a top political donor, a new report details more potentially damaging claims involving the governor and undisclosed donations.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that businessman Jonnie R. Williams gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister last year, on top of a $50,000 check to McDonnell's wife, Maureen, two years ago, according to people with knowledge of the payments.

McDonnell did not disclose the $70,000 donation, the Post reported. Sources familiar with the money told the newspaper that McDonnell considered the payments as loans, not gifts.

Responding to the Post story, McDonnell spokesman Taylor Keeney told CNN on Wednesday that Williams' company has not received public benefits from the commonwealth in return for the money.

"Star Scientific and Jonnie Williams have not received any board appointments, economic development grants, targeted tax incentives or government contracts during this administration," Keeney said.

Williams owns the dietary supplement company Star Scientific, which the McDonnells have promoted in recent years.

The FBI has been probing the Republican governor's relationship with Williams, who's under a federal securities investigation. The newly reported payments to McDonnell and his wife are in addition to a $10,000 check Williams gave to McDonnell's eldest daughter to help cover costs from her May 2013 wedding, according to the Post.

As for the $50,000 payment to Maureen McDonnell, the Post points out that the governor noted a member of his family owed somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 to someone in "medical services" and "health care" in his 2011 and 2012 disclosure forms.

It has also been well documented that McDonnell's family accepted $15,000 from Williams to help pay for the catering at a wedding for McDonnell's other daughter, Caitlin, in June 2011.

"The governor has been diligent over the years in making his financial disclosures," Keeney said in a statement to CNN. "As (The Washington Post) article notes, the loan to the first lady was disclosed in accordance with Virginia's reporting requirements. As the article also notes, loans to businesses are not required to be disclosed. Finally, regarding a gift to one of the governor's children, Virginia law does not require the reporting of gifts to family members."

The governor, though limited in what he can say due to ongoing investigations, has previously denied any wrongdoing in his relationship with Williams, saying as recently as Tuesday that Star Scientific has received no preferential treatment from the commonwealth.

In a radio interview, McDonnell argued that while he advocates for and supports Virginia businesses "all the time," Williams' company "has not received any public benefits whatsoever during the time that I've been governor."

That includes state money, board appointments, or economic development grants, he said.

The Post has previously reported that McDonnell held an official launch party for one of the company's new products in 2011, a few months after Caitlin's wedding. Maureen McDonnell also flew to Florida to speak favorably of the product at a seminar for scientists and investors interested in a key chemical in the supplement, according to the Post.

Because some of the monetary gifts from Williams were to his family and not the governor himself, Virginia law did not require McDonnell to report the payments on his disclosure form. He's required to report any gifts given to him worth more than $50.

However, the Post reports that the contributions to McDonnell's corporation, MoBo Real Estate Partners, seem to be the first payments that would directly benefit McDonnell, rather than his family.

McDonnell said Tuesday he has been following the same disclosure laws as his predecessors and would be in favor of more regulations for disclosing gifts, including those given to family who live in the Executive Mansion.

"I think those are all fair for discussion," he said.

On another front, McDonnell has faced scrutiny over his family's use of resources from the governor's mansion. He reimbursed the state late last week with a $2,400 check for food and household supplies used by his children, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The reimbursement came after former mansion chef Todd Schneider alleged in court filings that the governor's family inappropriately used the mansion credit card for personal expenditures, including supplies sent back to school with their college-age children, the newspaper reported.

Schneider made the allegations as he himself faces charges that he embezzled food from the governor's mansion when he served as executive chef from 2010 to 2012.

But McDonnell argued that reimbursing the mansion for personal expenses is nothing new.

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Virginia
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. jboh

    Remember that his buddy "the cooch" is running for Governor, and will continue this fine public servant's agenda.

    July 10, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Warren

    And i have a bridge for sale too.

    July 10, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. sonny chapman

    This can't be true; he's a God-Fearing, Patriotic man. Don't believe me ? Just ask him & his followers.

    July 10, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. Sniffit

    And of course Cuccinelli is too busy trying to mess with women's rights to choose and gay marriage while running for Senate that no criminal investigation has been started. Were this some Dem governor, GOPers/Teatrolls would be tying a noose by now and the only question they'd want answered is "which tree?"

    July 10, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. Sniffit

    Ecuse me...I meant Cuccinelli running for governor.

    July 10, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    IF these allegations are true, he needs to be put on trial.

    July 10, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Rosslaw

    I think that an invasive anal probe of Gov. McDonnell is badly needed here.

    July 10, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    He's history and so is the GOP in Virginia and across the nation in 2014 and forget about 2016!!!!

    July 10, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Sniffit

    "IF these allegations are true, he needs to be put on trial."

    IOKIYAR eh? McDonnell should be given the Issa Treatment and let's see how you GOP/Teatroll basers like it. These accusations are true, no matter what the evidence, unless McDonnell can disprove them fully with overwhelming evidence. Otherwise, it's a coverup. Period. Chew on that.

    July 10, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Bob

    Another corrupt Repug..... par for the course.

    July 10, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. teaparty days are numbered

    would you buy a used car off of this man?

    July 10, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. jinx9to88

    Wheres Issa when you need him? O thats right McDonnell is a Republican.

    July 10, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. jinx9to88

    Hey Boehner, "I want to know who's going to jail"? Remember those famous words you said? Hypocrite!!!

    July 10, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Wake up People!

    Ok jinx9to88, I was just wondering the exact same thing..... And what about the resident trolls that would have taken this topic over if this was a democrat???

    Nothing but crickets.....

    July 10, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. jules

    Stick a fork in him.

    July 10, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |