This is in reference to the letter titled "Enough political mudslinging." The most interesting question raised by Wells is why the Ethics Commission did not act on this matter for the past three years. The charges against Merritt were filed on June 7, 2009. Wells is correct that politics did have a role in these charges coming to life again, but not in the way Well's believes. All candidates who run for office in West Virginia must file a Financial Disclosure form with the Ethics Commission. Thus, Merritt sent a red flag to Charleston that he was running for sheriff of Wood County.
Now for the rest of this important story; on Sept. 21, 2010, Merritt told the Ethics Commission that he was unable to stand trial due to his "medical condition," and Merritt's attorney agreed to report to the Ethics Commission "on a regular basis" when his client could participate in the hearing. That never happened.
There was no "political mudslinging and dirty tricks" with this one; Merritt brought this one on himself. He cannot blame his son, any political party, any candidate, just himself for misleading the Ethics Commission.
Secondly, I recommend that Wells go to the West Virginia Ethics Commission website and read the charges against Merritt and read the May 31, 2012, Parkersburg News and Sentinel article he references again. The document titled "Statement of Charges and Notice of Hearing" detail's Merritt's lack of action when he was advised about unauthorized charges to Merritt's assigned Wood County credit cards. As a law enforcement officer, Merritt should have immediately went to the prosecutor and disclosed these criminal acts (see page 2 paragraph 9). In fact; (according to the complaint) Merritt knowingly allowed the county credit cards to be paid with county funds without telling anybody (see page 3 paragraph 11). One should read page 3 paragraphs 12, 13 and 14 to see what Merritt's intentions were. One should question Merritt statement, "When I got the bills, I paid them." According to the complaint, he did but with county funds!
Finally, when Well's states, "When Mr. Merritt became aware of the charges, he not only investigated the charges, but also had a deputy sheriff investigate (his son)" is 100 percent not true and false. According to the complaint, Merritt did not investigate it, and only made restitution after the fraud was revealed to the prosecutor and the Parkersburg police (Page 3, paragraphs 14 and 15).