CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Boone County’s prosecuting attorney has told the county’s ambulance authority director to pay back a $103,000 personal loan or face possible ethics charges.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Randy Lengyel used the money to enhance his retirement benefits.
Boone Prosecuting Attorney D. Keith Randolph directed Lengyel to pay back the no-interest loan in full by Sept. 30.
In an interview with the Gazette-Mail, Lengyel said he would reimburse the ambulance authority immediately and has started paying it back.
“I’m paying it back now — in full,” Lengyel said. “Everything’s going to be taken care of. It will all be paid back, and there won’t be an issue.”
The state Legislature’s Commission on Special Investigations started investigating Lengyel in May, directing the Boone Ambulance Authority to turn over bank statements, meeting minutes and loan documents.
In September 2013, Lengyel persuaded ambulance authority board members to loan him $103,000 so he could switch from the West Virginia state employees retirement plan to more lucrative plan set up for emergency medical service workers. Under the loan’s terms, which the board never voted on, Lengyel agreed to pay off the no-interest loan in monthly installments of $350 after he retired.
Under state law, the ambulance board had no legal authority to make a personal loan, according to a letter sent by the Boone Prosecuting Attorneys Office to Lengyel on July 31.
In his letter to Lengyel, Randolph said he could refer the ambulance authority investigation to a Boone County grand jury or the state Ethics Commission. Randolph said he would file a “civil action” to void the authority’s loan, if Lengyel doesn’t pay it back.
“All of the above comes to this: The money must be returned immediately, and in full, to the Boone County Ambulance Authority,” Randolph told Lengyel in the letter.
Lengyel denied any wrongdoing.
“We couldn’t find anything wrong with (the personal loan),” he said. “I don’t have any details to give you. I don’t see any issues at all.”
Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.