McDonnell denies wrongdoing in mansion controversy

Posted at 2:08 PM, Jul 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-09 14:09:18-04

(CNN) — Gov. Bob McDonnell pushed back against allegations Tuesday that he improperly used resources from the Executive Mansion, saying he follows the same rules as former Virginia governors.

The Republican also denied that a company owned by one of his political donor’s has received preferential treatment from the commonwealth.

Speaking on WNIS for his monthly “Ask the Governor” segment, McDonnell started out saying there was a limit to what he could talk about due to ongoing investigations, but he expressed there was no wrongdoing on his part.

McDonnell reimbursed the state late last week with a $2,400 check for food and household supplies used by his children..

The reimbursement came after former mansion chef Todd Schneider alleged in court filings that the governor’s family inappropriately used the mansion credit card for personal expenditures, including supplies sent back to school with their college-age children, the Times-Dispatch reported.

Schneider made the allegations as he himself faces charges that he embezzled food from the governor’s mansion when he served as executive chef from 2010-2012.

But McDonnell argued that reimbursing the mansion for personal expenses is nothing new.

“We’re running things the same way, under the same rules that every other governor has complied with,” he said on the radio show. “Allegations that are being made by litigants or former employees that somehow something is different with our administration is just not accurate, and painful. And the attacks on my family and my kids are just wrong.”

On another front, McDonnell maintained that Star Scientific, a company owned by donor Jonnie Williams Sr., has not received any benefits–such as state money, board appointments, or economic development grants–since he’s been governor.

The FBI has been investigating McDonnell’s relationship with Williams for gifts he provided to the governor, including catering for his daughter’s wedding. The federal agency was also determining whether McDonnell, who was elected in 2009, had taken any government actions that would have benefited Williams’ company.

The governor argued Tuesday that while he advocates for and supports Virginia businesses “all the time,” Star Scientific “has not received any public benefits whatsoever during the time that I’ve been governor.”