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West Virginia Ethics Commission OKs tourism contract with Justice’s Greenbrier resort

By PHIL KABLER

Charleston Gazette-Mail

The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs.
(AP file photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Division of Tourism officials can partner with The Greenbrier resort as part of the division’s new Cooperative Advertising Program, after the state Ethics Commission granted Tourism a contract exemption.

Tourism officials argued it would be an undue hardship if the state could not enter into an agreement with The Greenbrier as part of Tourism’s new centralized advertising campaign, stating, “The Greenbrier is critical to the CAP’s success because it is one of West Virginia’s strongest and best-funded tourism assets.”

The contract exemption was needed to avoid a number of potential conflicts of interest, since Gov. Jim Justice is primary owner of the resort, and as governor, has authority to hire or fire the state Secretary of Commerce and the Tourism commissioner.

That effectively gives Justice direct authority over the proposed state contract with The Greenbrier, in violation of the state Ethics Act.

However, commissioners Thursday concurred with the Tourism Office’s determination that denying the contract exemption would be an undue hardship for the agency, since The Greenbrier is expected to participate at the highest tier of the advertising matching fund program, at $50,000.

Read the entire article: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/politics/ethics-commission-oks-tourism-contract-with-justice-s-greenbrier-resort/article_8d67eb11-a795-531b-88dd-36e71a83f4ae.html

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