Attorney General, Congressman Provide Update on Flood Relief Efforts‏

Updated 1 year ago From a News Release by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey updated consumers as to steps initiated by his office in response to this month’s historic flood and state of emergency.

 
The Attorney General made his announcement with Congressman Evan Jenkins, who updated the public about FEMA efforts and other key issues on the ground. This week the Attorney General directed his office to organize mobile office visits, contact area charities and expedite the approval of any emergency state contract related to flood relief.
 
That follows extended hours for the office’s consumer protection hotline, which was staffed throughout this past weekend to receive any reports of price gouging, charitable fraud or various scams impacting the disaster area.
 
“While there have been reports of price gouging, the overwhelming majority of West Virginia businesses have displayed incredible generosity during this disaster and its aftermath,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I urge everyone to remain cautious and report any evidence of potential wrongdoing to our consumer protection hotline.”

“The resiliency of West Virginians and the spirit of community is evident in this tragedy,” Congressman Jenkins said. “Everywhere you go, you see people helping strangers, friends, neighbors – anyone who needs a helping hand and a warm meal. We still have a long way to go in responding to the storm and the clean-up efforts, and I urge everyone to stay safe and protect themselves from fraud and scams. If you feel you have been the target of a scam, please report it to the Attorney General’s Office and your local law enforcement.”

While the Attorney General’s Office is barred from discussing any specific investigations, it indicated that it had already issued three subpoenas and several letters on flood-related matters.
 
The Attorney General also indicated the office already had reached out to 39 charities that were engaged in flood-related fundraising. The goal is to proactively work with these charities to avoid any problems in the future and ensure that monies are expended in West Virginia.

The Attorney General’s contract approval team also stands ready to give highest priority to any emergency state contract related to flood rehabilitation and relief. The goal is for each contract to be approved within 24 hours of receipt with the ultimate goal of a same-day return.
 
State law requires the Attorney General’s Office to approve the form of any state purchasing contract exceeding $2,500.
 
Flood-relief mobile office visits continued Thursday with consumer protection attorneys and advocates visiting Rainelle, White Sulphur Springs, Clendenin, Elkview, Richwood and Spencer.
 
Visits to Clay and Webster County are set for Friday.
 
These visits enhance the office’s ability to reach those affected while electric and phone disruptions continue. Citizens are urged to ask questions and voice concerns about any issue they see, including charity fraud, storm-related home repair/cleanup scams and/or instances of price gouging.
 
Anyone with consumer protection questions or potential complaints should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.
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