The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 9, 2012

Ethics hearing for Beckley Mayor scheduled for January

It will be early next year before Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh will face a hearing regarding his alleged ethics violations related to property development dating back to 2006.

West Virginia Ethics Commission Executive Director Theresa Kirk said Tuesday the four-day hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 28 in Beckley. The start time and exact location, however, has not been determined.

The hearing’s examiner will be Robert Allen, who had not entered the order, which has been sent to him for approval, by approximately noon Tuesday, Kirk said.

The ethics commission filed charges against Pugh in March after the Probable Cause Review Board found enough evidence to determine that Pugh allegedly violated parts of the state Ethics Act. Kirk explained that the delay for the hearing is related to coordinating dates that work well for the attorneys and parties involved. A September hearing had originally been planned.

Pugh has been charged with nine counts of ethics violations, including the use of public office for private gain, accepting improper gifts, use of a public office for own private gain and private gain of another, and prohibited interest in public contracts.

It is alleged in the charges that Pugh, in return for providing public contracts with the city of Beckley and free use of the city’s resources, including materials and labor, was “financially rewarded with gifted ownership interests in companies resulting in private gain of more than $12,000.”

The Probable Cause Review Board also determined that Pugh inappropriately used a vehicle leased under the Beckley Sanitary Board.

Among the property developments with which Pugh allegedly had improper dealings were Woodland Properties LLC, and ATV at the Rock Inc., which does business as Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park.

— E-mail: chiggins@register-herald.com

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