WEST LOGAN, W.Va. — During the August 3 meeting of the Logan County Board of Education (BOE), board president Paul Hardesty announced the board is under investigation by the Commission on Special Investigations in Charleston.
Hardesty explained, “This investigation started long before this board was seated. It started long before the primary election — before the filing period started. This is an ongoing investigation. I am limited in what I can discuss of that information. I feel that it is imperative to tell you, our employees, the public and our tax payers what is going on. We ran on the platform of transparency; that is why we sitting here making these decisions stating these facts to you this evening. I am sorry so much misinformation is out there in the public. The facts are what they are.”
This news follows the July 28 retirement of superintendent of Logan County Schools, Phyllis Doty.
Doty set her retirement date for Sept. 30, 2016; however, the remaining 60 days of the contract were bought out by the board at the August 3 meeting.
Superintendent Doty’s contract was renewed Feb. 25, 2016 among public rancor over a perceived misstep in Robert’s Rules of Order.
Some sources, however, point to allegations of financial improprieties surrounding the wedding of Doty’s son.
The Logan Banner was able to obtain documents showing the BOE placed an order for more than $4,800 at the wedding store, Column Warehouse.
Payment for the items was sent by money order.
The website for the store no longer exists; however, the Internet Archives’ “way back machine,” which saves images of web pages throughout history for perpetuity, shows blog entries on the Column Warehouse page titled, “Five things to consider before decorating a wedding arch,” and, “Get married before you graduate college? Four reasons why you may want to say yes.”
On March 12, 2015, Ray Ellis, formerly with the Logan Board of Education, received an order confirmation from Column Warehouse.
Ellis forwarded the email to an employee at Chapmanville Middle School (CMS) asking, “You ordering this? Not sure why I got this email.”
The items ordered include six 20 inch urns costing $443, six 55 inch standing floor urns worth more than $1,135, two Doric style pedestal columns for $225 and a Tuscan half oval colonnade worth $1,650.
The cost to ship the items exceeded $1,020, and on April 1, 2015, Ellis forwarded a shipping confirmation from the Column Warehouse to Doty.
The items were marked for the music department of CMS.
The Logan Banner also received a photos allegedly posted to Facebook by Doty showing a half oval colonnade in use at a wedding which matches the description of the colonnade ordered from Column Warehouse.
“I do not know what this investigation holds. I can tell you from what we are learning on a daily basis it is not good. We are going to solicit a forensic audit of Logan County School system. This is a pretty strong statement, but we as board feel this is important,” added Hardesty.
The board has begun interviews for a interim superintendent and hopes to hire a full time superintendent by January 2017.
Darlene Dingess Adkins has been hired as the assistant superintendent.
Before she retired, Doty could not be reached by phone for comment.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]