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Martinsville City Council concludes failed medical school investigation

MARTINSVILLE – Martinsville City Council is announcing the completion of the internal investigation by the City Attorney's office of the College of Hen ricopolis School of Medicine project. In 2014 the City received an $800,000 Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission related to development of the medical school project. Conditions of the grant stipulated requirements related to both new employment and capital investment within a prescribed period of time. When the project failed to meet either requirement, and the medical school was unable to continue-- having no assets other than its building on Fayette Street, the City was ordered to repay $780,000 of the original $800,000 amount, over a 5-year repayment period. City Council requested the City Attorney's office to conduct an investigation into the project financials to ensure the funds allocated to the project were properly administered. After a time-consuming review of thousands of documents and testimony taken under oath, a court order has been entered by Martinsville Circuit Court Judge Carter Greer authorizing the City Attorney's office to release the investigative materials together with conclusions and recommendations to the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, the Attorney General's office, and the U. S. District Attorney's office for their consideration of potential criminal or civil proceedings. The file remains exempt from public disclosure until these offices have reached their own conclusions on how or whether they wish to proceed. Blue Ridge Bank, which holds a deed of trust on the proposed site of the medical school on Fayette Street, is in the process of foreclosing upon it. Once the foreclosure is complete, Blue Ridge Bank will donate the entire property to the City. "We appreciate the generosity of Blue Ridge Bank to the people of Martinsville," said Mayor Gene Teague. "Blue Ridge's commitment to our community is the one bright spot to come out of this disappointing experience, and we are confident this site will play a major role in the ongoing revitalization of Martinsville, and the Fayette Street corridor."

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