WEST LIBERTY - Wheeling native and entrepreneur Gary West purchased the Roadworthy Tavern from the U.S. Marshals Service for $1.2 million at an auction Thursday.
West said he will allow West Liberty University to operate the property's restaurant and tavern while he maintains ownership. West is a 1958 graduate of the former West Liberty State College and has been a major benefactor to the school. West Liberty's College of Business bears his name.
No official agreement with West Liberty University has yet been reached, West said, and plans are very preliminary.
The Roadworthy Tavern in West Liberty has been sold to Wheeling entrepreneur Gary West for $1.2 million.
West is the owner of West Rentals and said he plans to build cabins in addition to the six already located on the 36-acre property. He also said he will lease some of the land to gas drilling companies.
The U.S. Marshals Service contracted Williams & Williams Worldwide Real Estate Auction of Oklahoma to direct the auction. The bidding opened at $250,000.
While about 25 people attended the auction, only five were serious bidders, a U.S. Marshals official said Thursday. There was at least one online bidder as well.
The final sale to West is pending government approval, which may take around 30 days.
The U.S. Marshals Service has owned the the property since seizing it from previous owner Bernie Metz in 2009. Metz pleaded guilty last year to money laundering and embezzling about $9 million from the former Center Valley Federal Credit Union in Wheeling, where she was chief executive officer and manager. A federal judge sentenced her to nine years in prison. It was discovered she used $200,000 in credit union money to make a payment to the contractor who was building the Roadworthy.
Staff writer Shelley Hanson contributed to this report.