CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An already embattled funeral home director was subjected to additional scrutiny recently following the release of a Legislative audit which determined an inordinate number of body transportation contracts had been directed towards another of his companies.
Tri-State Mortuary, which is owned by Chad R. Harding of Poca, provided 94 percent of all transportation services for bodies in need of an autopsy by the state Medical Examiner’s office in fiscal year 2014, according to an audit provided to state lawmakers on Nov. 15.
In addition, the audit determined Tri-State Mortuary received $1.8 million in taxpayer dollars for body transport services during a four-year period ending in fiscal year 2013. During the same time period, other companies received $967,000.
“[Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] appears to have given preferential treatment to Tri-State Mortuary Services by assigning the majority of all incoming body transports to Tri-State,” the audit said.
In their research, auditors found Harding and Mike Scragg, the former chief of operations for the Medical Examiner’s Office, entered into an “unauthorized hand-written contract” in May 2008 in which both men agreed to have Tri-State “provide transportation service to OCME, state of WV thru the year 2018…