Disgraced Judge Slow To Repay Debt To West Virginia
While the Mountain State continues to struggle with a huge budget shortage, Former Putnam County Family Court Judge William M. “Chip” Watkins, III, was allowed to go more than two years before making the first payment on his owed $18,578.21 of investigation costs owed to the State of West Virginia’s Judicial Investigation commission. Additionally, he is not being charged interest – and still owes nearly $14,000, nearly five years after agreed to reimburse taxpayers.
PutnamCountyNews.com asked the JIC’s Counsel, Teresa Tarr, why it took so long and why Watkins isn’t being charged interest. Here is what she had to say in an email response:
Why did the JIC wait until April of 2015 to take enforcement action against Watkins for failure to pay?
“As you may recall, I was originally conflicted off the Watkins’ case. However, in January 2015, the conflict was resolved and I was then able to handle the matter. Upon taking over the case, I negotiated a repayment agreement with former Judge Watkins.”
Why isn’t Watkins being charged interest?
“The JIC typically does not ask for interest in repayment agreements. However, if someone violates the repayment agreement, and an enforcement action ensues, the JIC would then ask for interest. Former Judge Watkins has been making payments consistent with the repayment agreement.
Watkins made his first payment, in May of 2015, according to Supreme Court Public Information Officer Jennifer Bundy. This means he didn’t pay a penny since agreeing to repayment before his November 27th, 2012 hearing. She provides the following information:
- From May 1, 2015, through April 1, 2017, the payments were $100.00 a month.
- Beginning on May 1, 2017, and continuing through October 1, 2020, the payments are $385.20 a month.
- To date, Watkins has paid $4,711.20 of the amount due. The outstanding balance is $13,867.01.
- The payments conclude on October 1, 2020. The total amount of payment is $18,578.21.
Would a single parent be allowed to go more than two years without paying a penny of child support without Watkins throwing them in jail?
It should also be noted that PutnamCountyNews.com first started asking about whether Watkins paid on his bill in January of 2015. The payment plan wasn’t agreed to until after PutnamCountyNews.com started asking questions.
Meanwhile, in 2017, to help balance the West Virginia state budget, citizens are being charged a higher gasoline tax and drivers are being charged higher DMV fees while college students are paying more for tuition.
What is obvious is that there is a double-standard between how civilians are treated by the courts and how former judges are coddled.