- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein had access to a rent-free garage apartment provided by a state prison subcontractor for at least four years, a newspaper reported.

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Charles Miller’s office has agreed to end a criminal investigation into Rubenstein’s use of the Charleston apartment that PsiMed CEO Terrence Rusin gave him access to beginning in 2011, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported (http://bit.ly/2fh2Mgq), citing documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Rubenstein and Rusin are longtime friends, according to the report.

In exchange for the investigation being halted, Rubenstein recently signed a deal to reimburse the apartment’s owner for back rent and to have the investigation referred to the state Ethics Commission. He must also negotiate a “conciliation agreement,” which typically includes a reprimand and fine.

PsiMed, which provides mental health services to the prison system, received more than $7.5 million in state funds during the years Rubenstein had use of the apartment.

Rubenstein, who has overseen day-to-day operations of state prisons since 2001, has a house in St. Marys, about 100 miles from Charleston.

He had told investigators he moved into the garage apartment around February 2013 and moved out in October or November that year. Upon interviewing witnesses and examining Rubenstein’s cable television bills, however, officials determined that Rubenstein had use of the free apartment from February 2011 to July 2015. No one else was living there.

He paid about $3,600 for furniture, but never paid rent, the report said.

Rubenstein’s lawyer, Carte Goodwin, declined to comment.

Rusin did not respond to a request for comment on the investigation.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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