Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants is considering whether to file charges against three state employees who are alleged to have illegally interfered with a multimillion-dollar marketing contract.
Department of Health and Human Resources' Inspector General David Bishop recently gave Plants a report on the marketing contract incident, which has prompted whistleblower lawsuits from two of the DHHR employees targeted by Bishop's investigation.
The ousted trio includes the DHHR's deputy secretary for legal affairs Susan Perry, assistant secretary John Law and general counsel Jennifer Taylor.
In two separate whistleblower lawsuits filed in October, Perry and Taylor blasted the department for a "track record of errors" that they tried to correct before they were barred from their offices by DHHR acting Secretary Rocco Fucillo.
But DHHR's internal investigation appears to point an accusatory finger at them instead.
A lengthy mid-September search warrant accused Perry, Taylor and Law of trying to illegally interfere with the awarding of the contract.
Bishop's report is expected to elaborate on those allegations.
Plants said Bishop's investigation mirrors the warrant. Plants signed off on that search warrant, though Bishop wrote it.
"The basis of the investigation was laid out accurately in the search warrant," Plants said Wednesday.
Perry and Taylor's attorney has called the lengthy search warrant nothing more than a "press release," suggesting the warrant may have been DHHR's attempt to shield itself from mounting criticism. The search warrant authorized DHHR to seize documents that were already in its possession, for instance; and it was issued weeks after the investigation is thought to have begun.