PARKERSBURG - A former finance director for the city of Parkersburg who pleaded guilty to embezzlement of city funds is handling accounting for the Mister Bee Potato Chip Co.
Randy Craig, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement last year, is working in accounting for the potato chip company.
Numerous company officials, including Craig, did not respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.
On Wednesday, a receptionist at the company confirmed Craig was employed there and handled "receivables." However, the receptionist did not think Craig was considered the company's finance director.
Rick Barton, one of the primary investors in the retooled Mister Bee operation, also said Craig was working for the company but not as its finance officer.
"No. That's not the case," Barton said. "He's doing inventory management."
Questions arose about Craig's employment at Mister Bee as the company prepares to receive almost $385,000 in state loans.
David Warner, executive director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, said the company has been approved for a pair of loans totaling nearly $385,000.
"We have committed to make two separate loans," Warner said.
The first, for more than $249,000, is to help finance the real estate of the property. The second, for $135,000, is to assist in the financing of the equipment, Warner said.
Warner said the loans received final approval Aug. 16.
"I would expect it to close in the next 60 days," he said.
Mister Bee, established in 1951, shut down last year and filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company was purchased by Barton and Randall Holden, who are among the founders of Wincore, a Parkersburg-based window and door company.
Christie Mallett was installed as the company president. In an April 22 article in The News and Sentinel, Angela Stanforth was identified by Mallett as the company's finance director. Barton said Wednesday the company's finances are being handled by April Hymen.
Mister Bee, the only potato chip producer in the state, restarted production in the spring.
In August, the Associated Press reported Barton and Randall Holden installed Dwight Holden as the director of operations and Jonathan Betancourt as the director of sales and marketing. Dwight Holden, Randall Holden's son, is 23. Betancourt is 26.
Messages and emails left for Dwight Holden were not returned.
Craig was fired by the city and arrested in July 2009, charged with felony embezzlement. He was employed in the city finance department for about 25 years, working as finance director under three different mayors.
Little more than a year ago, Craig was sentenced to 60 days in jail, four years probation and ordered to pay almost $26,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzlement from the city.
In June 2011, the city filed suit in Wood County Circuit Court against Craig and Richard L. Wilhelm, a local contractor, seeking more than $60,000. The suit is slated to go to trial in March.
Barton said he did not hire Craig. He said Craig was working in Clarksburg and unhappy with the travel.
"We needed somebody who could do accounting," he said. "There is no asset control. He realizes he's under a microscope."