CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An ongoing federal grand jury investigation of the Manchin administration took a new turn Monday, with sources confirming that federal subpoenas were issued for the state Aviation Division director and for records maintained by the Aviation Division.
The subpoenas were issued for director Keith Wood and for division flight records.
Both Melvin Smith, spokesman for Gov. Joe Manchin, and Diane Holley-Brown, spokeswoman for the Department of Administration, which oversees the Aviation Division, referred all questions regarding the subpoenas to Charleston lawyer Dwane Tinsley.
Numerous calls to Tinsley, who was appointed as a special attorney general in August after the federal grand jury issued subpoenas for state Department of Administration and Division of Highways records, were not returned Monday.
"We do not have any comment at this time," Holley-Brown said Monday regarding the subpoenas.
Department of Justice investigators first issued subpoenas in August 2009, seeking records from the Division of Highway's Right-of-Way Division.
That sparked speculation that the investigation might have something to do with then-Manchin chief of staff Larry Puccio, co-owner of Puccio and York LLC, a Fairmont-based real estate appraisal firm.
The company has had a total of $831,932 worth of contracts with the state since 1996, primarily involving property appraisals for the Division of Highways, according to state auditor's office records.
Puccio resigned as Manchin's chief of staff on Dec. 31, 2009, and registered as a legislative lobbyist one week later, with high-profile clients including The Greenbrier resort and the Charles Town racetrack and casino.