Governor responds to ‘resignation letter’

Posted at 11:53 AM, Jul 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-04 11:53:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Virginia State Sen. Chap Petersen (D - Fairfax) told Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to come clean about gifts he received from donors or resign as governor.

Petersen sent the governor a letter that expressed concern over reports the governor and his family received numerous gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams. Gifts never reported to the public, Petersen feared.

"When the disclosure came out, and again this is an allegation, I recognize it's not proven, but the disclosure about the Rolex watch and the shopping spree in Manhattan with clothes being purchased and then appointments being arranged with state officials, that to me was just completely out of line," Petersen said in a phone interview. "To be honest that came out a week ago and I was waiting for someone to step up and make a statement and essentially call out the governor on it and say listen you got to either deny this or explain it. When nobody was going to do anything, I decided that I was going to write my letter."

Petersen said he had not yet received an official reply from the Governor's Office about the letter. But at an event Wednesday in Richmond, Governor McDonnell said there is not much he can say.

"It's unfortunate the senator would send a letter," Governor McDonnell said. "I disagree with many of the assertions in his letter. I think many of the reports he's relying on are incorrect. I'd like to say more, but I think he knows, as well I know, as some of these reviews are going on that there's a limit to what I can say at this time."

Governor McDonnell said despite the gifts, Williams received no special treatment from the Governor's Office.

"I would like to see the governor come forward on his own volition and give an explanation or give a denial and say that this didn't happen or if it did happen it was really this way that it happened," Petersen said. "I don't think he can afford to continue to say no comment and pretend that this is a non-issue because it is an issue."