WHEELING - Wheeling Kiwanis member Tim Reed on Thursday came to the defense of Denny Magruder regarding comments made earlier this month by Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey,
During Thursday's Kiwanis meeting at the arena, Mayor Andy McKenzie was the guest speaker. Reed asked McKenzie why Fahey was upset with comments made by Magruder regarding the financial issues at WesBanco Arena. Magruder is the executive director of the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority and oversees the operations of the arena and the Capitol Theatre.
Fahey is a member of that board.
A story published in The Intelligencer on May 6 quoted Magruder, who said the arena is technically operating in the black and that a decrease in attendance at Wheeling Nailers' hockey games was one the reasons revenue was down.
Later that day during a regular council meeting, Fahey and City Manager Robert Herron expressed their dismay with Magruder's comments.
"I was very disappointed in the comments from the staff of the WesBanco Arena," Fahey said. "I see things in a much more positive light."
At Thursday's Kiwanis' meeting, Reed said he was told Magruder was asked by city officials to call the newspaper editors to have the story retracted.
"I'd like to have a legitimate answer to my question. Why did the vice mayor make those comments? Denny is loyal to his job, a dedicated worker who gives 60-70 hours a week to his job and now he is worried about his employees ... if he or anyone is going to be fired," Reed said.
McKenzie responded that he could not speak for Fahey.
"I believe (the) story was completely truthful," he said. "Denny is the leading guy when it comes to the Capitol and WesBanco Arena. He's always telling us how wonderful Wheeling is ... but that's not exactly how he reported it to the newspaper. Some of his comments were concerning to a lot of people."
McKenzie said he does not get involved in personnel issues, but added he believes Magruder to be a "stand-up, honest guy."
Magruder could not be reached for comment.