CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Longtime Kanawha County Delegate Ron Walters has suddenly resigned from the Legislature.
His resignation is effective at midnight. There are only three days left in the annual 60-day regular legislative session.
“For personal reasons only,” Walters commented in a text message to MetroNews.
Kanawha County Prosecutor Chuck Miller said the resignation was part of a deal with Walters’ attorney, Bill Forbes.
The investigation had to do with a woman’s lien in Wayne County. The woman contended a forged signature had resulted in a lien on her property, Miller said.
“Bill Forbes indicated to me that he (Walters) would resign and extinguish the lien if we would forego any sort of criminal prosecution,” Miller said. “I did ask if he would resign that he never again seek public office.”
The Charleston Gazette-Mail tracked Walters down at his office at the Capitol. The newspaper reported that he denied having signed an agreement with Miller. Walters also denied that he filed the false lien.
“I have not done anything like that,” Walters told the Gazette-Mail.
Miller did not want to specify Walters’ alleged connection to the woman in the lien case.
“I’m not interested in trying to sully his reputation or anything, other than dealing with this allegation of conduct,” Miller said.
Miller said it was better to reach an agreement than to prosecute.
“We analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a case and then we take into account the resources we’re going to have to expend to prosecute the case,” Miller said.
Walters, 68, was on the ballot to run again this year, although Miller said the agreement calls for Walters to not serve again.
Miller said the resignation seems punishment enough in this case.
“There’s a great deal of punishment associated with having to resign a public office, particularly a public official agreement not to run again for public office,” Miller said.
“And I’m sure it’s an embarrassment to both Mr. Walters and his family. I don’t intend to do that as an objective. But those are the consequences associated with an agreement whereby someone is trying to resolve allegations of misconduct or criminal conduct.”
Walters served was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1992, joining a group of Kanawha delegates referred to as “The Four Horsemen.”
The Republican is the chairman of the Pensions and Retirement Committee in the House of Delegates.
He has been president/insurance agent for R.N. Walters and Associates since 1992.