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Joe Manchin Plays Dumb on Involvement in $15M Loan for Hotel Group

The West Virginia Democrat says he has “no idea” whether he’s still an investor in the hotel group being sued.

Joe Manchin Fundraising

A lawsuit in West Virginia is causing headaches for the state’s senior senator, Democrat Joe Manchin. The Washington Free Beacon has the details:

Mountain Blue Hotel Group, which is partly owned by AA Property, is being sued by U.S. Bank National Association for defaulting on a loan for 15,470,000 and accruing nearly $600,000 in unpaid taxes.

Manchin, through a spokesperson, initially claimed no involvement in the hotel deal gone awry, but upon further examination and pressure from the press, he admitted, “After looking further into the paperwork, Senator Manchin has part ownership in AA, but AA has no ownership or affiliation with the hotels.”

“I have no idea. I’m in a blind trust,” Manchin told local reporters at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park after an economic development announcement.

“I have no idea on that. The only thing I’m told is that we have no involvement whatsoever, and we were very passive investors,” Manchin said of his investment in AA Properties, LLC. “Blind trust, and no involvement.”

But in the lawsuit, Manchin is listed as an investor in Mountain Blue Hotel Group. Documents list Manchin and a longtime associate of the senator’s, Larry Puccio, as owning a 12-percent interest in Blue Mountain Hotel Group.

Despite Manchin’s denials, a 2013 “Facility Letter” uncovered by WV Metro News, also shows the Democrat listed by name on the project.

Manchin is up for reelection in 2018. A Democrat, the daughter of a coal miner, has announced she is challenging Manchin for the Democratic nomination, while Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) announced in May he would run against Manchin on the Republican side.