The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

March 17, 2013

Mount Hope nonprofits clash over old high school

Criminal investigation of William Sohonage by State Police ongoing

MOUNT HOPE — Several years of bitter conflict between two community groups that both claim to want the best for Mount Hope are coming to a head in a West Virginia State Police investigation.

State Police Sgt. S.E. Wolfe confirms that a criminal investigation of William Sohonage and his dealings with the former Mount Hope High School is ongoing.

Wolfe says many have been interviewed for the case, but he has yet to sit down with Sohonage himself to hear his viewpoint. He would not comment further.

At the center of the clash are Mount Hope Heritage & Hope (MHHH) and The Center of Hope, both nonprofits headquartered in the town of 1,414 that now calls itself “The Gateway to the Summit” because of its proximity to the new Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Along with a quasi-governmental organization called Mount Hope ON TRAC, the two groups are sparring over the ownership of the former Mount Hope High School, which was given to MHHH by the West Virginia Board of Education in June 2011.

MHHH’s attorney Ryan Donovan of Bailey & Glasser says his client has not filed a lawsuit.

“And we’re hopeful that we won’t ever have to,” he says. “But all that is kind of up in the air, pending the investigation.”

MHHH did provide The Register-Herald with an official statement, in which they accuse Sohonage of fraud.

The group says they never voted to transfer the school to The Center of Hope, that

Sohonage had no authority to execute a deed doing so on their behalf, and that he acted without their knowledge.

One of The Center of Hope’s board members, local business owner Lynn Loetterle, says the group is in the process of retaining an attorney and would not comment on the record at this time.

The Center of Hope originally offered to open up its books to The Register-Herald but, after learning of the police investigation, decided against it.

They maintain that their finances are in good order and that their records will be independently audited to prove it.

Sohonage also said he would not speak on the record about the situation, at the request of his board.

Text Only
Latest News
  • W.Va., 11 other states, ask Supreme Court to declare new EPA rules illegal

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Friday that West Virginia led a bipartisan group of 12 states that are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to declare illegal a settlement agreement in which the EPA promised to issue its now-pending rule concerning existing coal-fired power plants.

    August 1, 2014

  • Ebola outbreak moving faster than control efforts

    An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital.

    August 1, 2014

  • Oak Hill man arrested for selling drugs to police officers

    A Fayette County man is in jail after his arrest Thursday evening for several drug offenses, according to a press release from the Fayette County Sheriff's Office.

    August 1, 2014

  • Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident in the Montcalm area of Mercer County.

    August 1, 2014

  • pittsburgh rally 5,000 rally in Pittsburgh against EPA Clean Power Plan

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh Thursday. The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members and their families, along with other unions such as the Boilermakers and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW), marching through the streets.

     

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Alpha plans to idle coal workers

    Approximately 1,100 employees at 11 Alpha Resources-affiliated surface mines, preparation plants and other support operations in southern West Virginia got notice late Thursday afternoon that their jobs could be in jeopardy.

     

    August 1, 2014

  • New rules to fight black lung disease kick in today

    Joe Massie has spent the last 22 years of his life fighting a disease that takes his breath away, a disease he contracted deep underground in the coal mines over a period of 30 years.  Black lung may take away his breath; it has not stilled his voice.

    August 1, 2014

  • target red Zero tolerance Target Red campaign hopes to lessen intersection crashes

    It happens every day. A driver hurries on his or her way to work, school or maybe nowhere in particular. Just ahead, a green light turns yellow. With a little more gas, the vehicle just might be able to clear the intersection before that light turns red. Or maybe not. 

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alpha announces intention to lay off 1,100 surface miners

    The announcement dealt another blow to Appalachia's iconic, but dwindling, fossil fuel industry. The company said 2015 industry forecasts show Central Appalachian coal production will be less than half of its 2009 output. It's due to a combination of familiar factors, Alpha said: competition from cheaper natural gas, weak domestic and international markets and low coal prices.

     

    July 31, 2014

  • Justice mines have violations in 5 states

    A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

    July 31, 2014