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Attorney sues RISE West Virginia flood recovery program alleging FOIA violation


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An attorney representing clients awaiting help from RISE West Virginia is suing the state Department of Commerce, alleging it ignored two public records requests for financial and other documents.

Bren Pomponio, an attorney with Mountain State Justice, a nonprofit that provides legal services to underserved West Virginians, filed suit Tuesday in Kanawha Circuit Court. Pomponio is representing multiple RISE clients.

RISE is a $150 million flood recovery program funded by the federal government and operated by the state. It stalled out due to a combination of bungled purchasing attempts, an administrative freeze ordered by the Governor’s Office, staffing shakeups and leadership changes, culminating in the ouster of a cabinet secretary. Nearly three years out from the June 2016 flood, RISE has built about 50 homes, most being mobile homes.

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