Gov. Bob McDonnell returns Rolex gift
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - All of the thousands of dollars in tangible gifts - including a $6,500 Rolex watch - showered on Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family over the past few years have been returned to a major political donor and business executive, the governor said in an Associated Press interview.
"At this point, I've been advised by my attorney, that all the tangible have been returned," McDonnell said Monday on the state airplane whisking him between Martinsville and Norfolk, stops in the last of four annual late-summer economic development tours during his single, nonrenewable term.
McDonnell hired a private legal and public relations team to help guide him through federal and state criminal investigations into the gifts he received from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of Virginia-based nutritional supplements maker Star Scientific Inc., and whether McDonnell used his office to benefit Williams or the company.
The gifts were part of gratuities and loans valued at more than $140,000 Williams gave to the McDonnell family during its tenure in the Executive Mansion since 2010.
McDonnell had already announced the repayment of loans totaling nearly $125,000 from Williams to himself, First Lady Maureen McDonnell and his sister and business partner. He also said that two of his daughters, 28-year-old Cailin and 32-year-old Jeanine, had returned checks of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, that Williams gave them for their weddings.
McDonnell did not report the gifts on his annual financial disclosure statements, citing state law that requires disclosure only of gifts directly to officeholders, not members of their families. This year's seven-day tour includes visits to 22 Virginia cities by its end on Thursday.
In addition to announcing the repayment of the loans, Williams's reimbursement for the cash wedding gifts, and repayment the loans, McDonnell also apologized for his actions and asked Virginians' forgiveness in the weeks leading up to his weeklong valedictory and farewell tour.
Virginia is the only state that does not allow its governor to seek re-election to a second, consecutive term.