McGraw to court: Freeze that retirement fund

John O'Brien Mar. 19, 2008, 3:45pm


CHARLESTON, W. Va. - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw will not relent in his civil suit against the former director of a federally and state-funded senior center recently acquitted of a federal charge that he illegally cashed in more than $31,000 in sick leave.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Silas Taylor filed papers Monday opposing any motion filed that would request funds seized by the U.S. Government to be returned to former Wyoming County Council on Aging director Bob Graham, currently incarcerated in Morgantown.

Because the Council on Aging and All Care Home and Community Services are funded by grants administered by the state Bureau of Senior Services, McGraw is looking to protect$250,000 from Graham's retirement accounts.

"Mr. Graham's financial circumstances have changed by reason of the Fourth Circuit's reversal of his conviction," Taylor wrote. "The funds on deposit with the Court could now be made available to Graham to meet his financial obligations other than the now-defunct forfeiture and fine.

"But, 'until further order,' it appears that this Court still retains exclusive jurisdiction of the disposition of said funds."

The Fourth Circuit ruled that Graham had legally accrued his sick leave and received authorization to cash it in, overturning his conviction.

McGraw's complaint against Graham says that a BoSS investigation showed Graham was paid $133.41 per hour for 330 hours of overtime in 2003. Tasks that made up that overtime, McGraw argues, could have been performed by employees making less.

Included in those tasks were: 16 hours to clean his office, costing $2,135; 25 hours at a Las Vegas conference and "getting caught up," costing $3,335; 19 hours to check on the floor sealing, costing $2,535; and a total of 10 hours "picking up supplies," costing $1,334.

According to a report by The Associated Press, Graham could be released from his two-year prison sentence within a week because the U.S. Attorney's office is not seeking an appeal.

The report also says Graham's salary in 2004 was $457,000 and he received more than $100,000 in perks each year. Meanwhile, the average senior center director in the state was making $42,000. A court order reduced Graham's salary to $99,000.

McGraw wants Graham's IRA to be held by the Kanawha Circuit Court clerk.

"The State of West Virginia... has at least an 'equitable lien' on the funds held by this Court," Taylor wrote. "While the removal of funds from the IRA for the purpose of paying fines and forfeitures was in furtherance of this Court's jurisdiction, that purpose no longer exists.

"Clearly, the removal of funds from the IRA and their subsequent return to Mr. Graham was not the intent of this Court and would manifestly circumvent the orders of the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, which are calculated to prevent Mr. Graham from withdrawing funds from said IRA."

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