EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMingo Residents Wait For Word On Investigation; Commissioner Arrested
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Jeff Morris
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Kallie Cart, Associated Press
Reported: Aug. 15, 2013 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Aug. 15, 2013 4:04 PM EDT
Williamson , Mingo County , West Virginia
Mingo County residents turned out near the courthouse Thursday, waiting for more details about a political corruption investigation that already led to the arrest of a county commissioner.
Commissioner Dave Baisen was arrested and charged with extortion for misusing his office to try to buy tires from a county supplier at a discount.
The indictment said the commission routinely purchased tires for commission-owned vehicles from 2007 and 2009. Baisden routinely completed purchase orders to buy tires from Appalachian, and Jerry Colegrove, an employee with the commission, routinely took delivery of the tires, the indictment said. During this period, Appalachian sold tires to the commission at a special, discounted price available only for use on government-owned vehicles.
Colegrove under Baisden's direction, the indictment said, contacted Appalachian to order a set of tires for Baisden's personal vehicle at the government price. When Appalachian learned the tires were to be used on a personal vehicle, it refused to sell them at the government price. Colegrove told Appalachian that Baisden "was a powerful official and that Appalachian would risk losing its business with the commission if it did not sell Baisden the tires for the personal use at the government price." Appalachian refused.
The indictment said Baisden then contacted the tire store manager and told him the commission would no longer purchase tires from Appalachian because it refused to sell the commissioner the tires for his personal use at the government price.
In June 2009, Baisden directed Colegrove to stop purchasing tires from Appalachian and to find a different supplier for tires from the commission, the indictment said. Colegrove did as Baisden directed, the indictment said.
Eyewitness News first reported an investigation was under way in Mingo County in May and that Baisden and Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury were targets of the probe. The U.S. Attorney's Office had a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday to discuss the political corruption case.
Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.
Mingo County Commissioner Dave Baisden has been arrested and charged with extortion for misusing his office to try to buy tires from a county supplier at a discount.
Charleston attorney James Cagle said Baisden was arrested Thursday and is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
He said Baisden is set to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in Charleston at 3 p.m. He hasn't yet spoken to Baisden.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Charleston declined comment but said it would have an announcement about a Mingo County prosecution later in the day.
Calls to the County Commission office went unanswered, and a secretary in the prosecutor's office said no one was available to comment. Prosecutor Michael Sparks is out this week for a family funeral.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A source said Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden has been arrested, and the U.S. Attorney's Office has a press conference scheduled at 2 p.m. Thursday regarding corruption in Mingo County.
The arrest and corruption probe are part of an investigation that Eyewitness News first reported in May..
Several other arrests were expected to be made. State Police has sent troopers to the county. The Williamson Daily News reported that Baisden was arrested at the Mingo County Garage about 9:30 a.m. and taken into State Police custody.
The newspaper said Baisden is in his second term as Mingo County commissioner. He had previously worked as the county assessor.
Eyewitness News Reporters Bob Aaron and Kallie Cart are in Williamson, and more details will be reported as they become available.
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