The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 3, 2013

Greenbrier swimming pool challenged

By Tina Alvey
Register-Herald Reporter

— Special Judge Charles M. Vickers has scheduled a hearing in a case challenging the financing of a proposed public swimming pool in Greenbrier County.

Attorney Barry Bruce filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in November on behalf of four county residents — Mary Jo Sharp, Pete Adams, Charles Ayers and Sandra W. Ayers. The writ questions the process followed by the Greenbrier County Commission in allocating $1.3 million in hotel-motel occupancy tax funds and the legality of using such funds for the renovation of a pool located inside a building on the Lewisburg campus of New River Community and Technical College.

The petition asks the court to order the County Commission to cease action toward renovation of the pool, declare a lease for the aquatic center in question to be void and seek the immediate return of the $1.3 million that has already been released to the NRCTC Foundation for the project.

The Greenbrier County Commission and its former president, Betty Crookshanks, are listed as respondents in the writ. There is nothing in the court file to indicate who is representing the county, but commissioners announced late last week that they have consulted with Prosecuting Attorney Patrick Via and believe he will defend them against the mandamus action.

Both Greenbrier circuit judges recused themselves from hearing the petition, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Menis Ketchum last week appointed Vickers — a retired Fayette County circuit judge — to preside over the case.

Vickers has scheduled an initial hearing in the matter for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 14.