Virginia Governor Apologizes, Repays Loans

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell announced Tuesday that he repaid more than $120,000 in loans to a businessman whose nutritional supplement he and his wife promoted, and he apologized for the first time for a gifts scandal that has consumed his final year in office.
July 24, 2013

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell announced Tuesday that he repaid more than $120,000 in loans to a businessman whose nutritional supplement he and his wife promoted, and he apologized for the first time for a gifts scandal that has consumed his final year in office.

“I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens,” McDonnell (R) announced via Twitter. “I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence. I hope today’s action is another step toward that end.”

The McDonnells paid back Star Scientific chief executive Jonnie R. Williams Sr. $52,278.17 for a $50,000 loan made to first lady Maureen McDonnell in 2011 and $71,837 for $70,000 provided last year to a real estate company the governor owns with his sister.

The announcement represents the first time McDonnell has expressed regret or said he and his family have embarrassed the state by accepting Williams’s largess, which has included gifts first reported by The Washington Post in March. The executive also provided the family with luxury items, a $10,000 engagement gift for one daughter and $15,000 in wedding catering for another. McDonnell’s statement referred only to the loans, but his daughter Jeanine has returned the $10,000 engagement gift, said someone familiar with the transaction who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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