- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - Parkersburg officials are preparing to meet with state auditors to discuss the recent investigation into the city’s finances in the wake of a controversy surrounding the city’s former mayor.

City officials are scheduled to meet Monday with representatives from the West Virginia Auditor’s Office for an exit conference on the audit of the fiscal year running from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, The News and Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/1oYRToB).

The audit is a standard procedure, but it is expected to be closely examined in light of ex-mayor Bob Newell’s retirement last year.

Newell retired in June after members of the public accused him of misusing funds and demanded that he be removed from office. Newell has denied the allegations.

In an order dated Friday, the West Virginia Ethics Commission dismissed complaints against Newell, finding no probable cause to believe that Newell violated any prohibition of the ethics act.

An investigation into a private accounting company’s report on financial matters focused on a city fund in question found nothing that rose to the level of criminal violations, the Wood County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said in a letter last week.

Councilwoman Sharon Lynch said the ethics commission’s dismissal confirmed her belief that Newell hadn’t acted illegally.

“I never believed he took any money or misappropriated any money,” she said. “It’s time to leave it alone and move on.”

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Information from: News and Sentinel (Parkersburg, W.Va.), http://www.newsandsentinel.com

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