CBS 6 Exclusive: Gov. McDonnell addresses Star Scientific scandal

Posted at 8:02 PM, May 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-03 06:27:39-04

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- After his monthly "Ask the Governor" Radio Show in Richmond, Governor Bob McDonnell talked with CBS 6 about the ongoing controversy involving his relationship with GOP donor and Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams Sr.

When asked by CBS 6 if this has been the most difficult time of his governorship, he said the fact he can't comment because there is an ongoing investigation has been challenging.

"The fact I don't feel that I'm in a position to comment or publicly respond on that it certainly makes it challenging," McDonnell told CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George.

The controversy grew as a result of a trial involving the former chef of the Governor's Mansion, Todd Schneider.

Schneider is charged with embezzlement and theft of property over $200 dollars when he was working at the Governor's mansion.

Schneider has contended McDonnell and his family have committed some wrongdoings while living at the mansion involving his relationship with Jonnie Williams Sr.

Williams, according to the Washington Post, is being investigated by the SEC. The Post reports the FBI has interviewed McDonnell for the investigation.

"There is nothing happening that impairs my ability to be governor," McDonnell reiterated.

The scandal has shed light on how much McDonnell has taken from Williams over the years - estimated to be over 100,000 dollars.

Gifts have included a $15,000 dollar check to McDonnell's daughter for her wedding, a vacation at Smith Mountain Lake, and the opportunity to drive Williams' white Ferrarri back to Richmond.

CBS 6 Political Reporter Joe St. George asked him if he took too much money from Williams and if driving a white Ferrari was a mistake.

"It takes a lot of money to run for Governor," McDonnell said.

St. George interrupted saying "driving a white Ferrari has nothing to do with running for governor?

"I know," McDonnell said. "Look all I can say is that I have received some gifts," McDonnell added.

McDonnell would not say if he is considering returning the money he or his family received from Williams but did add he is open to considering changing Virginia's contributions laws.