(10/05/2001)
Calhoun Magistrate Steve Johnson has resigned, according to Circuit Judge Thomas Evans III of Spencer. Evans said a Supreme Court investigation is continuing related to problems in Johnson's Grantsville office.

Evans said he signed a court order accepting his resignation, and will be seeking to appoint a replacement.

Evans said he did not know the exact nature of the problems, but court sources reported they are related to misuse of funds.

The West Virginia Supreme Court is over magistrates.

"I acted on a complaint within 24 hours," Evans said. "An investigator for the court was in Grantsville the next day." He also said he filed a complaint with the ethics committee of the Supreme Court.

Calhoun County Prosecutor Tony Morgan has disqualified himself and the court has appointed Rob Schulenberg, a Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor, to handle the case.

Johnson, a popular, well liked and community-minded citizen, had been serving a third term as a Calhoun magistrate. Since resigning, he has advised friends he is moving to South Carolina.

A graduate of Calhoun High School, he attended Fairmont State College majoring in criminal justice. A graduate of the West Virginia State Police Academy, he was a Calhoun deputy under former Sheriff Bill Stemple.

A recent Supreme Court audit going back two years indicated some control problems regarding bank deposits, but the issue did not appear to be significant.

The problems appear to be directly linked to Johnson, although charges have yet to be brought against him.


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