CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A recent story that appeared on LegalNewsline.com and The West Virginia Record was full of untrue allegations and is false, state Attorney General Darrell McGraw claimed Friday.
McGraw issued a press release denouncing the story, published Thursday. It noted that the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance, which on Tuesday received $10,000 from McGraw's office, purchased a full-page advertisement in the Charleston Gazette urging voters to vote against Saturday's table games referendum in Kanawha County.
The story also mentioned McGraw's spending of more than $1,000 in 1995 for anti-gambling seminar.
"A recent article in the online version of the 'West Virginia Record' has proven to be false," the release from McGraw's office says. "The story appears to accuse a group of Charleston ministers of misusing a monetary award received from the office of Attorney General Darrell McGraw."
McGraw says the Alliance pooled funds to purchase the ad. Charleston Newspapers could not verify or correct a cost estimate from the story of more than $3,300.
"(O)ther than Reverend (Lloyd) Hill's involvement as President of the Alliance, the anti-drug abuse award and the anti-gambling ad are unrelated," the McGraw press release says.
"The funds awarded to the Alliance for the Jabez Project are part of settlement moneys received by Attorney General McGraw from a lawsuit brought against Perdue Pharma, manufacturer of the narcotic drug, OxyContin, for its techniques in marketing the drug.
"Entities receiving awards from the Perdue Pharma settlement are required to provide an accounting of how the funds are used. Funds determined to be misspent are subject to recoupment and redistribution per the terms of the settlement agreement."
The 2005 settlement with Purdue Pharma was structured in a way that allowed his office to appropriate the funds as it seemed fit, McGraw says.
Part of the $10 million settlement went to trial lawyers hired to represent the state, part of it has been handed out by McGraw and none of it has been given to the federal government. The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services provides 73 cents of every dollar spent in the state on Medicaid.
McGraw's argument said OxyContin's addiction capabilities put an unfair financial strain on the Medicaid program. Currently, the CMS is mulling a withholding of the money it says it is owed when it gives the state its next Medicaid funds.
Phone calls to the Alliance were not answered, and Hill has yet to respond to an e-mail.
"The purpose of that settlement was to provide money to drug treatment programs," McGraw said. "The judge wanted the money to go to community programs."