Brewer told Terry on Wednesday that more than a year had passed between the time Mezzatesta solicited a Department of Education grant and when Terry filed her complaint, according to Terry. State ethics law includes a one-year statute of limitations.
Department of Education employees have said that Mezzatesta asked in February that a $75,000 grant be diverted to emergency service agencies in Hampshire County.
Department of Education officials approved the request in early February, after receiving a letter from Hampshire schools Superintendent David Friend. The letter was sent from Mezzatesta's fax machine at the Capitol.
The grant was originally intended for a sheltered workshop in Romney. The bulk of the money eventually went to volunteer fire departments in Hampshire County - at Mezzatesta's request.
Brewer said Monday that Hampshire County schools served only as a "pass through," and that Mezzatesta wasn't using his position to benefit Hampshire County schools - even though the sheltered workshop serves Hampshire County High special education students.
"It's something other than getting money for his employer," Brewer said. "That money never went to Hampshire schools or a school program. If the money went to a public agency other than the one for which it was intended, that is not something we have control over."
Brewer said he also never spoke to Department of Education Finance Director Joe Panetta about Hampshire school grants. Mezzatesta normally talks to Panetta about such grants before speaking to state schools Superintendent David Stewart.
"It's foolish to believe that Jerry Mezzatesta didn't have anything to do with it," said Gary Abernathy, executive director of the state Republican Party, which also filed a complaint against Mezzatesta. "He has a stranglehold on education across the state."
Brewer also dismissed allegations that Mezzatesta had helped to solicit a $70,000 Department of Education grant that paid for a Hampshire schools finance department audit.
Brewer said Stewart and Friend, the Hampshire schools superintendent, told him that Mezzatesta didn't solicit the grant.
Only two members of the 11-member Ethics Commission reviewed the complaints against Mezzatesta and the investigation's subsequent findings.
Mara Watson, a former state Democratic Party Executive Committee member, and John Turak, an Ohio County lawyer, served on the panel that dismissed the charges against Mezzatesta.
The other commissioners are John Charnock Jr., Jack Blair and Bradley Crouser, all of Kanawha County; Kemp Morton and Ronald Salmons, both of Cabell County; Kathleen Aderholt of Ohio County; Charles Logan of Berkeley County; and Drema Radford and Jim Shepherd, both of Raleigh County.
Abernathy said the Ethics Commission was too eager to find reasons to dismiss the complaints against Mezzatesta.
"They're just not going to take action against this guy," Abernathy said.
Mezzatesta and his lawyer said the Ethics Commission's findings put the matter to rest.
"I know that the investigation was a thorough one," Mezzatesta said, "and that the findings of the investigation have exonerated me so that I can continue to do the job for which I was elected."