Home 2013 races Cuccinelli Falsely Claims He’s Never Done Anything for Jonnie Williams

Cuccinelli Falsely Claims He’s Never Done Anything for Jonnie Williams

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From the Democratic Party of Virginia:

Last night at a campaign stop, Ken Cuccinelli tried to convince reporters that he'd never done anything that benefited scandal-plagued Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. That statement is not true.

The truth is while Cuccinelli was buying stock and accepting Williams’ lavish gifts, his office was sitting on a lawsuit that could have forced Williams to pay $1.7 million in state taxes. Cuccinelli has yet to release information about whether or not his inaction on Williams’ lawsuit was directly related to the stock and gifts, but there is no question that letting that tax bill go unpaid for two years is the direct opposite of Cuccinelli’s claim that the only thing Williams ever got from his office “is opposition.”

Letting his friend and financial patron slide by on his tax bill isn’t the only favor Cuccinell did for Williams. In 2011 the Attorney General flew to Kentucky on Jonnie Williams' dime to campaign for Williams' favored Attorney General candidate there.

“Ken Cuccinelli’s desperate rhetorical gymnastics won’t be enough to convince Virginians that Jonnie Williams showered the Attorney General with gifts simply out of the goodness of his heart,” said DPVA spokesman Brian Coy. “The truth is Cuccinelli’s inaction led to a more than two year delay in a case that could force Williams to pay $1.7 million to Virginia taxpayers, and Cuccinelli was all too eager to travel out of state and campaign for Williams’ favored Kentucky candidate.

“It's long past time for Ken Cuccinelli to stop hiding the truth and give Virginians the accountability they deserve by fully disclosing his relationship with Jonnie Williams and Star Scientific.”

Background:

 “Cuccinelli said that he's never offered Williams any favors – “only thing he's gotten from my office is opposition.” [National Journal,7/11/13]

Star Tax Case Sat Dormant under Attorney General Cuccinelli since August 2011 

In March 2013 the AP reported, “Henrico-based Star Scientific Inc. sued Virginia's Department of Taxation in Mecklenberg Circuit Court in July 2011 over a $700,000 tax dispute with the state. A deputy attorney general filed an answer to the complaint the following month. There have been no new motions, pleadings, filings or hearings in the case since.” [AP, 3/22/13]

 

…Despite $1.7 Million on the Line for Virginia Taxpayers

The Roanoke Times editorial board stated, “The stakes are significant for Star Scientific, which is making a push to market a plant-based dietary supplement designed to reduce inflammation. The company could be on the hook for at least $1.7 million in taxes, penalties and interest if it loses the dispute, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.” [Roanoke Times Editorial, 4/2/13]

 

After Getting “Flak” for Gifts From Star Scientific CEO Cuccinelli Recused Himself From Case “Only Under Pressure”

In May 2013, the Daily Progress editorial board stated, “Mr. Cuccinelli took flak when it was revealed that he had received gifts from Mr. Williams while at the same time his office was representing the commonwealth in a tax dispute with Star Scientific. He recused himself from that case only under pressure.” [Daily Progress, 5/7/13]


Private Attorney in Norfolk: “This Looks Bad and Smells Bad”

Paul Campsen, a private attorney in Norfolk for whom tax litigation is a specialty, said, “To me this isn't just the appearance of a conflict, it is a conflict of interest. This looks bad and this smells bad.” [AP, 3/22/13]

 

Reports Showed Cuccinelli Bought More Star Scientific Stock AFTER The Company Filed Its Lawsuit against the Commonwealth

In April 2013, the AP reported, “Last weekend, the Post reported that Cuccinelli purchased some of his stock in the company after it sued the state. It is Cuccinelli's lone stock investment.” [AP, 4/5/13]

Williams flew Cuccinelli to Kentucky to Campaign for Republican Candidate

“Among the donations that were revealed after Cuccinelli revised his statement of economic interest was a $3,254 trip to Kentucky. While the trip itself has been reported, the purpose or timing of the trip remained a mystery.

NBC12 has confirmed that Williams help to fund Cuccinelli's trip to Kentucky to campaign for the GOP candidate for Attorney General Todd P'Pool. Cuccinelli appeared with P'Pool, who was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Jack Conwayat an event and fundraiser on September 29th

According to P'Pool's financial disclosure report, the Cuccinelli fundraiser brought in close to $15 thousand for the challenger's campaign.

The timing of the Kentucky trip falls right around the same time that the lawsuit was filed by Star Scientific. The event was in September of 2011.  The lawsuit was filed just three months earlier in July.” [NBC 12, 4/8/13]