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Mountaineer Group on list to conduct business in West Virginia

by Jim Fisher

STAFF WRITER

WESTON -- A group interested in revitalizing downtown Weston has been listed with the state since April 2003, despite the fact two clerks in the secretary of state's office last week and Monday said they could find no records of the group.

Linn E. Davis of Atwater, Calif., is listed as manager of the group, according to a clerk contacted Tuesday. Davis did not immediately return telephone messages left at his home Tuesday, although he was expected to be in Weston Thursday to discuss the project.

According to both the secretary of state's Web site and a clerk contacted Tuesday, The Mountaineer Group LLC was approved for a certificate of authority to do business in West Virginia on April 21, 2003. The group is registered in Delaware.

It was unclear Tuesday why clerks in the secretary of state's office last week and Monday told The Exponent Telegram they could find no record of The Mountaineer Group LLC.

There are no names of company officers on the Delaware Secretary of State's Web site basic listing, which shows that the group registered in that state March 28, 2003.

Weston Development Authority Executive Director Frank Moots on Monday told Weston City Council that the group was registered in Delaware because there is a possibility of private investors coming from all over the country.

Delaware is a favorite location for such companies and groups because the state provides the opportunity for considerable tax breaks.

Moots had asked Council for a resolution supporting the project. Council members declined to begin that process Monday, saying they needed more time to look into the proposal.

Moots also outlined the project to Lewis County commissioners Monday. County Administrator Craig Presar said county officials were "cautiously optimistic."

The Mountaineer Group LLC has received a six-month licensing agreement with the state Department of Health and Human Resources to redevelop the former Weston State Hospital and its grounds.

The group has a five-year, $300 million plan to revitalize downtown, including turning the old hospital into a hotel resort, complete with a PGA-style championship golf course, outlet shopping, performing arts center, convention facilities and other recreational amenities.

The other part of the effort is to completely revitalize downtown to provide additional shopping and lodging to complement the resort.

Staff writer Jim Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at jfisher@exponent-telegram.com