Report: Businessman Says He Told Gov. McDonnell Of Loan To Wife

Invision for Shamrock Farms

Details continue to trickle out about the federal investigation into Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), and they continue to not sound good for McDonnell. 

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on Sunday that Jonnie Williams, the CEO of the dietary supplement company Star Scientific, has told federal investigators that he met with McDonnell before making a $50,000 payment to his wife, Maureen McDonnell, in 2011. The Times-Dispatch cited a source “close to the ongoing gift scandal investigation,” who also said that Williams insisted on the meeting in McDonnell’s office to be sure that the governor knew about the loan.

The governor’s private spokesman disagreed with Williams’ version of events.

“Governor McDonnell was not aware of Mr. Williams’ May 2011 loan to Mrs. McDonnell until after the funds had been spent,” spokesman Jason Miyares said in an email to the Times-Dispatch. 

Miyares did say that McDonnell was aware of a $70,000 payment Williams made in 2012 to a small real estate company co-owned by the governor and his sister. 

After the money became public earlier this year, McDonnell said they had been loans, and eventually said they and tens of thousands of dollars worth of other gifts from Williams had been returned and repaid.

According to the Times-Dispatch, lawyers for the McDonnells met last week with federal prosecutors to discuss the case. Prosecutors are expected to make a decision on whether to seek an indictment between next month’s gubernatorial election in Virginia and Thanksgiving. 

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com

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