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Baisden Resigns
Mingo County Commissioner Steps Down And Forfeits $10,000 In Salary
October 7, 2013

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Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden stopped by his courthouse office this morning to collect his personal belongings and say goodbye to his staff. He told them he would be immediately stepping down from his post in the wake of a guilty plea to a federal extortion charge.

"I was in the courthouse this morning taking care of some personal business and noticed Commissioner Baisden in his office packing up his personal belongings," Benjamin Cisco of Matewan said. "Overheard him telling a friend of mine that he was planning on resigning."

Baisden tried to get a government rate on tires for his personal vehicle, but when the company refused he yanked the county's contract. Prosecutor say that was an abuse of his office. Commissioner Greg "Hootie" Smith refused to comment about Baisden's decision and we were unable to reach Commissioner John Mark Hubbard.

Just stop and think for a second just what's been going on here in Mingo County since October 2nd, when David Baisden pleaded guilty in federal court. He's remained in office and if he had chosen to do so he could have stayed in office until mid-January because that was his deal with federal prosecutors. He didn't have to resign until his sentencing on January 14th. It is a story of unmitigated gall, greed and avarice. If he had stayed in office until his sentencing, he would have cost the taxpayers...you....an additional $10,000. And perhaps the worst part of this entire situation, at least concerning Baisden staying on as county commissioner, his fellow county commissioners never publicly said that he should step down nor did they start official court proceedings to remove him.

However, state auditor Glen Gainer had sent a letter to the Mingo County Courthouse in his role as Chief Inspector of public offices, giving the commissioners and prosecutor until October 15th to do something about Baisden, or he would.

"I didn't pre-dispose his guilt or innocence based on the initial filing by the U.S. Attorney," Gainer said. "But once he pleaded guilty then I think at that point he's just got one option and that is to resign from office."

For people who have been calling for Baisden to resign since the plea, his decision is another step toward cleaning out the rat's nest of corruption at the Mingo County courthouse.

"I think we already pay enough people, convicted felons in our regional jail system, we don't need to be paying a politician $36,000 a year to serve as county commissioner when he's pleaded guilty to an extortion charge," Cisco said.

Baisden is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine. In Williamson, Kennie Bass Eyewitness News.




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