Gov. McDonnell says he is repaying loans from company head

July 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM
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RICHMOND, Va., July 23 (UPI) -- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said borrowing money from the president of a dietary supplement company was not illegal but he is paying it back anyway.

McDonnell in a statement released on Twitter said he would repay $52,278 for a loan made to his wife and $71,837 for two loans to a business he owns jointly with his sister with both amounts including interest. The loans were made by Johnnie Williams, president of Star Scientific, which makes Antabloc, a supplement marketed as an anti-inflammatory and a possible aid for those with Alzheimer's disease.

The Republican said he is "deeply sorry for the embarrassment certain members of my family and I brought upon my beloved Virginia and her citizens."

"I want you to know that I broke no laws and that I am committed to regaining your sacred trust and confidence," McDonnell said. "I hope today's action is another step toward that end."

Williams has also made lavish gifts to the McDonnells, including treating Maureen McDonnell to a $15,000 shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman's, buying the governor a $6,500 Rolex watch and picking up the $15,000 catering bill for their daughter's wedding. Federal prosecutors are now investigating the payments.

McDonnell has always insisted that he has promoted Star Scientific because it is based in Virginia and not as a quid pro quo. Maureen McDonnell threw a product launch party for the company at the governor's mansion.

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