Little sworn in to replace Hollen in W.Va. House

Photo by Steven Allen Adams Chuck Little, left, Monday is administered the oath of office to represent House of Delegates District 9 by Justice Tim Armstead, right. House Speaker Roger Hanshaw holds the Bible.

CHARLESTON — Chuck Little, an investigator with experience looking into public corruption and fraud, will get his chance to keep government accountable from the inside as the 9th District’s latest representative in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Little, a Republican from Davisville, took the oath of office Monday to succeed Ray Hollen, a retired West Virginia State Police trooper who resigned effective May 12. Hollen, elected in 2016 and 2018, accepted a job with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The 9th District encompasses all of Wirt County and the southern tip of Wood County.

“Some of the members of my community talked to me when the vacancy arrived last week,” Little, who is originally from Parkersburg, said after being sworn in. “I had never given it a thought of course, but I thought about it overnight and said ‘why not.’ I’ve always been involved and have stayed in tune with government.”

A committee of Republicans from Wood and Wirt counties selected three people to submit to the governor for the selection. Gov. Jim Justice announced Little’s appointment in a statement Sunday night.

Other nominees were John Griffin of Creston in Wirt county and D. Shannon Kimes of Rockport in Wood County.

Little is an investigator and forensic financial specialist for the law firm of Bailey and Glasser in Charleston specializing in white-collar criminal cases. According to his biography on the law firm’s website, Little has worked on investigations of sudden-acceleration cases involving Toyota vehicles. In 2014, Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion in a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and admit it misled consumers about the issues causing the sudden acceleration.

According to his bio, Little also was the lead investigator on an antitrust case involving West Virginia Paving and its subsidiaries. The state and several cities are suing West Virginia Paving for hiking the price of asphalt and buying smaller paving companies and asphalt manufacturers.

“Acting on a complaint from the (Division) of Highways, Chuck investigated whether a number of paving companies in West Virginia had worked together to create a de facto monopoly in West Virginia, driving up prices by as much as 40 percent,” according to Bailey and Glasser.

Before joining Bailey and Glasser, Little served in the West Virginia State Police for 15 years, focusing on investigations of public corruption. Little took that expertise to the IRS as a special investigator, working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Little retired after 23 years of investigating corruption, tax fraud, bankruptcy fraud and fraudulent coal tax shelters. He later returned to public service as senior investigator for the U.S. House of Representative’s Government Reform and Oversight Committee where he looked into foreign campaign contributions to candidates for office.

Though he has not been assigned to any committees, Little believes his background and skills would be good for the House’s Finance and Judiciary committees. Little also said he would run in 2020.

“I think I just bring common sense to this operation,” Little said. “I know what happens if the right things are not done. It’s not a good scene. If we don’t do the right things, there are repercussions down the road.”