Gov. Bob McDonnell fired back Monday at news reports that his family took state-purchased items at the Executive Mansion for their personal use, saying they are "false'' and that he has reimbursed the state periodically for state-bought goods put to private purposes.
News reports and allegations in court filings in the pending theft trial of the mansion's former chef, Todd Schneider, contend that McDonnell and his family used items from the mansion or had the state pay for purely personal items ranging from hair products to protein powder.
Tuesday, the governor appeared on WTOP radio and addressed those allegations.
"There seems to me to be an inordinate amount of piling on," McDonnell said Tuesday. "I don't see that any other governor has ever had this kind of scrutiny. We kept meticulous records. The public knows from FOIAs what kind of deodorant I use, what mouthwash I use and what kind of movies my kids watch."
Schneider's defense motions, filed in Richmond Circuit Court, also contend that the chef was told to take items from the mansion's kitchen when he worked there from 2010 to 2012 in exchange for personal services performed for the First Family.
"I can’t comment on some of the veracity of these reports at this time because these are issues that are tied into of a case of a previous chef of the mansion who’s been terminated for embezzling food and other items from the mansion. He’s been charged with four felonies. There’s a trial coming up," McDonnell told News4 Tuesday.
Asked what Virginians should know about the allegations that have dogged him for weeks, he said, "I want you to know that that's false, and the stories that have been written insinuating that have been misleading and have been wrong.''
McDonnell told a handful of reporters after an event paying tribute to programs throughout Virginia that have reduced homelessness that he has followed the same protocols as preceding governors in periodically reimbursing the state for personal items purchased through the state.
Two state investigations are looking into operations of the mansion, particularly its kitchen, under McDonnell's watch.
Federal authorities are looking into McDonnell's relationship with Jonnie Williams, chief executive of nutritional supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., and a major McDonnell campaign donor who gave McDonnell's daughter $15,0000 as a wedding gift. McDonnell did not report the gift because Virginia law requires only gifts directly to a state officeholder, not his family, be disclosed.