By Dianne Weaver

The $2.4 million "Pork Chop" classroom furniture deal made by resigned state Assistant Superintendent G. A. McClung is back, according to McDowell County Superintendent Mark Manchin, who took over after the alleged violations came to light.

Manchin says the investigation is "white hot."

The U.S. Attorney's Office has subpoenaed McDowell County Treasurer Carla Horn to testify before a grand jury in Charleston. Federal officials have asked Horn to bring documents and canceled checks.

Authorities have been interviewing high ranking officials in the state's School Building Authority.

J. D. Morris, the former president of the State Board of Education and former president of the Clay County Bank, was early released from prison after stealing more than $100,000 from his bank, contingent on his giving inside information about "dealings."

Morris' testimony about education spending remains speculation.

"Pork Chop" Booth, a longtime friend of McClung, sold furniture and kitchen equipment after McDowell and Wyoming counties schools flooded in July 2001. The company charged between two and four times too much for the items, according to state education officials.

A friend of McClung's has given testimony before a grand jury about a vacation cruise the two took in 2002. The U.S. Attorney's Office has been trying to determine who paid for the cruise and a $500 bar bill.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Internal Revenue Service and West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations also have asked state school leaders about the roles of Wyoming County Superintendent Frank "Bucky" Blackwell and state Department of Education Facilities Director Bill Elswick in the furniture purchases, according to the Charleston Gazette.

A contractor who repaired the flooded schools hired Elswick's son and Elswick also hired Agsten Construction of Charleston.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials estimated that it would cost $3 million to repair the flood-damaged schools.

The Wyoming and McDowell county school boards spent $12 million, following McClung and Elswick's orders.

That leaves about a $9 million question.