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Roundhouse Authority chief says he was not told of financial filing requirement

July 29, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Clarence E. CEM Martin III, Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority chairman, standing in the Baltimore and Ohio Roundhouse in this file photo. Martin has accepted responsibility for failing to file annual financial reports for the Roundhouse Authority, but says he was never made aware of the requirement.
Herald-Mail file photo

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The chairman of the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority said Friday that he has nothing to hide regarding the finances of the public corporation, but accepted responsibility for failing to file annual financial reports as required.

As chairman of the authority board, Clarence "CEM" Martin III said: "I have to accept responsibility it wasn't done."

At the same time, Martin, who is an attorney, said the filing requirement was never brought to his attention, informally or otherwise, by the county.

The roundhouse authority, a public corporation, was created in 1999 by an act of the state Legislature. It is charged with the restoration and redevelopment of the historic Baltimore and Ohio Railroad roundhouse and shops in Martinsburg.

Martin also took issue with statements by Councilwoman Elaine Mauck at Thursday's county council meeting, saying he volunteered to show her the authority's financial records, but "she never followed up."

Martin also questioned why he was not invited to attend the council meeting to respond to Mauck's concerns, which included the authority's decision to invite state, federal and local leaders to a closed-door meeting next month about the 13.6-acre property's future.

Martin said the private, invitation-only meeting scheduled for next month was needed to allow those invited to be able to talk in frank terms about the revitalization project's viability.

"I need these people to feel free to talk freely about what they can and can't do — this project is at a critical point," Martin said.

The meeting is closed to the public and to the media. Martin said he didn't like holding a closed session, but also didn't want officials to restrain from expressing opinions about the project because they could end up in the next day's headlines.

Martin said Friday that unkempt conditions at the roundhouse property would be addressed this weekend.

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Earlier this month, the city of Martinsburg issued a notice to the authority alleging violations of the property-maintenance code because of all grass and weeds at the site off East Martin Street, according to city planning department records.

Martin said he recently fielded interest from two people interested in joining the volunteer authority board, but questioned where all of the people who Mauck said Thursday were interested in the project actually were.

The council decided Thursday to formally ask for financial statements from the authority's board after learning it was the only county-appointed panel or commission that had failed to file the annual reports.

Martin's three-year term on the board is scheduled to expire on Sunday. Mauck said after the meeting Thursday that she wants to receive full financial disclosure from the authority before taking any action on board appointments.

The board terms of Martin's wife, Judy Martin, and Richard Yauger, also expire at the end of this month.

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