The paths of three West Virginia Republicans, Robin Capehart, Jim Justice and Bill Cole, continue to intersect. With recent developments, I thought it might be worth noting where they overlap. Here's an annotated list of important events:
After 13 charges of ethical violations by the West Virginia Ethics Commission, Robin Capehart resigns as President of West Liberty University.
As part of his agreement with the state, Capehart is named legislative liaison for the rest of the year. Capehart will draw his full salary for 2015 despite the legislature not being in session. (Certainly, some tough punishment from the state.)
Then-Democrat Jim Justice is elected governor of West Virginia defeating the Republican candidate, Bill Cole. The election is not a total loss for Cole, however, as the Republicans win control of the Senate and Cole becomes Senate Majority Leader in December.
Jim Justice switches his political affiliation to Republican at a Trump rally.
Robin Capehart is appointed Republican lead counsel to the West Virginia Senate Committee on Finance. As the Wheeling Intelligencer reported:
Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, made the announcement of Capehart’s appointment as counsel on Tuesday. He said he reviewed the ethics complaints against Capehart and “found not one to be substantiated.”
Of course, Blair doesn’t mention this:
Robin Capehart is named the interim President of Bluefield State College. As I noted at the time, the Chairman of Bluefield Board of Governors, Reverend Gary Moore, dismissed the charges against Capehart to somebody not liking him; he was "pretty sure that he can pass whatever background check."
The names of two board members also caught my attention: Bill Cole and his brother, local businessman Charlie Cole.
After the other presidential finalist drops out, Capehart is named President of Bluefield State.
Capehart asks Bluefield’s board to award an honorary doctorate to Governor Jim Justice. He also asks that the college’s medical arts center be renamed to honor the governor and his wife. From the minutes of the Bluefield State College Board of Governors meeting, April 29:
President Capehart brought forth the motion to present Governor Jim Justice with an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities to be presented during the BSC Commencement on May 2nd. The motion was moved by Mr. Charlie Cole and seconded by Mr. Bill Cole. All in favor = 8 Nays= 0 The motion carried. President Capehart brought forth the motion to dedicate and rename the medical arts center. The new proposed name will be Jim & Cathy Justice Medial Arts Center. The motion was moved by Mr. Charlie Cole and seconded by Mr. Shannon Remines.* All in favor = 8 Nays= 0 The motion carried.
At Bluefield State’s graduation ceremonies, Jim Justice receives an honorary degree and gives the commencement address.
Jim Justice awards the $1,000,000 covid lottery top prize to an employee of Bill Cole. As the Charleston Gazette's Phil Kabler tweeted, Cole and his family had also given the maximum in political donations to Justice’s campaign.
Two days ago
Robin Capehart gets a raise of $35,000. From Yesterday’s front page of the Charleston Gazette-Mail:
The recommendation was made by the Bluefield board and approved by the WV Higher Education Policy Commission. (Note the discrepancy between Capehart’s and Boggess’s raise even though Concord has 50% more students.)
Capehart, Justice, and Cole: all winners! Yes, it is a “remarkable concurrence of events.” As 60s/70s folksinger Phil Ochs used to say: “Thank God for coincidence.”
*If the name Shannon Remines looks familiar to local readers, Remines was the Bluefield-area businessman who was featured on the front page of the Wheeling Intelligencer on March 27 explaining Bluefield College's reasons for wanting to set up an engineering degree program at the former OVAC site. The Intelligencer’s article called Remines a "Bluefield businessman" without disclosing that Remines was also a member Bluefield’s College's Board of Governors and had likely been appointed by Capehart.