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Manchin, Puccio not listed on hotel’s bankruptcy filing


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bankruptcy filing from the ownership group controlling a hotel in Morgantown that owes nearly $15 million to creditors does not list a partnership between U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his adviser as a stakeholder, contrary to an August complaint in federal court.

Mountain Blue Hotel Group, a limited liability company based in Georgia, listed a number of equity holders in its filing, not including Manchin or his adviser, Larry Puccio.

In the original complaint, the ownership group listed AA Property LLC — a partnership between Manchin and Puccio — among its investors.

Steve Ruby, Manchin’s attorney, said Friday that AA Property was listed on the original complaint in error, and the bankruptcy filing should put the matter to rest.

“In the bankruptcy case, the Mountain Blue bankruptcy case in Georgia, there was a filing earlier this week that confirmed who the equity holders in Mountain Blue actually are,” Ruby said. “Sen. Manchin is not one of them. AA Property is not one of them.

“The significance of that is it confirms what we’ve said, what I’ve said, and the senator has said from the time the case was filed in the Mountain Blue case, which is that the complaint was in error when it said that he was a part owner of Mountain Blue,” Ruby said.

Ruby would not say if AA Property had ever been an investor in the hotel group.

“At this point, our view is that this story such as it was, was the result of a mistake in the complaint, and the matter is closed as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “We don’t regard it as the basis for any discussion of the senator’s financial matters.”

According to Manchin’s financial disclosure from August with the U.S. Senate, he owns between $50,000 and $100,000 of value in “AA Properties, LLC.” The disclosure does not contain any mention of Mountain Blue Hotel Group.

Puccio said he too is glad the court documents show that AA Property did not have any equity in the hotel at the time.

“I am pleased today it shows that we, and AA, has no ownership,” he said.

When asked if AA Property ever invested in the company, he declined to comment, citing his own right to privacy.

“I’m not going to start talking about any investments that I would have, that’s my private business, I’m a private citizen,” he said.

Loan documents attached to the original lawsuit list AA Property as a 12 percent stakeholder.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at [email protected], 304-348-4814 or follow @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

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