CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed documents on Friday to enhance West Virginia’s chances of recouping nearly $5 million in ongoing fraud litigation involving Frontier Communications, according to a press release.
In the press release, the Attorney General’s Office stated that the case involves alleged fraud in in the spending of federal stimulus funds awarded to West Virginia in 2010 to expand broadband internet. Federal regulators already required the state to repay more than $4.9 million associated with the case, according to the release.
The release stated that Attorney General Morrisey’s motion takes no position on the claims against Frontier. However, it seeks to position West Virginia to recoup its $4.9 million payout, if a federal court were to find that Frontier’s conduct violated the False Claims Act.
“We must act now to assert our claim and protect West Virginia’s interest,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It is only right that West Virginia be made whole and another entity bear the costs, if it is proven that entity engaged in fraud. Anything less would amount to the federal government receiving double payment for the same underlying costs.”
The release stated that federal regulators, in allegations similar to the much broader litigation, required West Virginia to repay more than $4.7 million related to select charges and specific invoice processing fees set forth by Frontier, as well as $244,000 linked to Frontier’s alleged deployment of 37 miles of excess fiber optic cable. The release also stated that the federal government argued those alleged actions violated the terms of the stimulus grant.
The Attorney General’s Office said the ongoing litigation stems from a much broader complaint, which was filed by Frontier’s competitor, Citynet. It seeks repayment by Frontier on behalf of the federal government, according to the release.
The release stated West Virginia, the grant recipient, unsuccessfully appealed the federal government’s decision to seek repayment from state coffers. The release also stated that Frontier was the sub-recipient of the grant.
The release also stated that Morrisey argues that no existing party in the ongoing case represents West Virginia’s interest. Additionally, Morrisey also contends not permitting West Virginia to intervene would substantially impair the state’s ability to protect his interest, according to the release.
You can read Attorney General Morrisey’s motion here.