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 Property Purchase Restrictions

2010-24 Board of Education

  • May purchase property owned, in part, by a Sheriff’s Chief Tax Deputy.
  • Chief Tax Deputy does not exercise control over BOE contracts.
  • Chief Tax Deputy not subject to § 61-10-15 since position is neither statutorily created nor does she take an oath of office.
  • May not purchase property owned, in part, by a part-time Assistant Prosecutor, absent contract exemption due to the prohibitions of West Virginia Code § 61-10-15.
  • Assistant Prosecutor exercises control over BOE contracts by providing legal representation.Assistant prosecutor meets the “part-time appointed public official” exception to the Ethics Act’s public contract limitation.
  • Assistant Prosecutor is a public official for purposes of § 61-10-15 since position is statutorily created and he takes an oath of office.
  • Assistant Prosecutor exercises voice, influence, or control over BOE contracts.
2012-38 Part-time Appointed Member of a Review Commission
  • May provide referral list of names of companies and individuals as prospective buyers to owners of distressed properties appearing before Review Commission.
  • May, if Review Commission unable to assist in facilitating sale of distressed property (despite providing list of prospective buyers), as part-time appointed public official, purchase property from interested person subject to the foll​owing limitations:
    • may not use confidential information acquired in course of official duties to further own personal interests or the interests of another person; and
    • must recuse self from all matters relating to subject property.
2013-51 Commercial Supervisor in County Assessor's Office
  • A commercial supervisor in the County Assessor’s office may lease residential property in the county in which he/she is employed, because this property is not subject to his/her regulatory action.
  • A commercial supervisor in the County Assessor’s office may not purchase, sell or lease commercial property in the county where he/she works, because either he/she or his/her subordinates take annual regulatory action on this property. (Personal transactions for personal homes are exceptions.)
  • A commercial supervisor in the County Assessor’s office may not purchase any commercial property at property tax lien auctions. (The purchase of residential property over which he/she has no regulatory control is permissible at tax auction.)
  • The only exception is if a property exemption is sought and obtained from the Ethics Commission.
  • Any employee of the County Assessor’s office who had the authority to select property for sale at auction and/or control the price or value thereof is prohibited from purchasing the property at auction. Employees of the County Assessor’s office may not engage in real estate transactions, including purchasing property at auction while on the public clock.
2013-55 County Assessor
  • A County Assessor’s adult daughter may purchase property in the same county in which he/she works, as the daughter does not reside with the Assessor, and neither the Assessor nor his/her spouse has an ownership interest in the property.
  • The Assessor and his/her spouse may also engage in property purchase transactions in the county, if they are for personal residences. (The Deputy Assessor is authorized to assess the Assessor’s property.) 
2015-10 A City Code Enforcement Officer
Is prohibited from acquiring property within the city which he/she regulates without first obtaining a contract exemption from the Ethics Commission. 

2015-16 County Building Commission Member
A County Building Commission member may purchase and develop property owned and managed by a County Urban Renewal Authority without violating W. Va. Code §§ 6B-2-5(d)(1), 6B-2-5(b) or 61-10-15.
2017-18 Cabinet Secretary
W. Va. Code § 6B-2-5(h) does not prohibit a Cabinet Secretary’s lease of real property to a firm which has or may have regulatory matters before his department as the lease predates his appointment to public office and is being continued under its original terms.  He may not use his public office to unlawfully benefit the firm and must seek a Property Exemption from the Ethics Commission if he seeks to make a material change, such as a rent increase, to the terms of the lease.

2018-06 Fire Chief
A deputy fire marshal may lease and operate a private club that is subject to the City’s fire code as long as neither he nor a subordinate of his inspect or investigate matters concerning the club.

2019-28 Pre-candidate for Sheriff
The Ethics Act permits a Sheriff to continue to operate a real estate business that leases and sells property to individuals and businesses in the same county.  A Sheriff may not seek to sell or lease property to persons who have been the subject of a regulatory matter within the last 12 months or which currently have a matter before the Sheriff’s Office, such as persons under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, delinquent in paying county taxes or subject to a warrant.