Ray Massie isn’t ready to throw in the towel in his long-running effort to remove all three members of the Raleigh County Commission on grounds that a disputed primary election recount was rigged.

“When people commit fraud, they should answer for it,” Massie said Tuesday in confirming he has filed a notice of intent to appeal a three-judge panel’s decision against hearing his case.

In late May, a special three-judge panel named by the state Supreme Court rejected his lawsuit that sought the ouster of Commissioners Pat Reed, John Humphrey and John Aliff.

Massie said he has 90 days from the date of the ruling by Judges Dan O’Hanlon, Alan Moats and Jack Alsop to appeal, giving him until late August to do so.

At the heart of his complaint is a 2004 primary contest in which Humphrey outpolled a Democratic rival, Mike Fink, by some 3,000 votes.

Humphrey’s triumph was upheld in a recount, but Fink said he was victimized by “various discrepancies,” and filed a lawsuit that was dismissed in circuit court initially, and a similar verdict was issued in his appeal before the Supreme Court.

Another source of unrest with Massie entails his allegation that money was misused at Lake Stephens. And Massie also alleges the commission violated the open meetings law when a controversial building code was approved in August 2001.

Reed and Aliff weren’t members of the commission when the Lake Stephens controversy surfaced. And Reed wasn’t serving at the time of the disputed primary balloting.

Even so, Reed recently said the charges — initially filed by the Southern West Virginia Association of Citizen Groups — had been a distraction to her personally and the commission as a whole.

The three-judge panel at first rejected the lawsuit because the citizens group wasn’t incorporated, leading Massie to re-file it as an individual.

Massie said he was disappointed by the May 18 ruling of the three-judge panel.

“They didn’t hear the case,” he said. “They didn’t see the case. There should have been a hearing and at least heard our evidence. But they didn’t even look at the evidence.”

Judges said the election complaint didn’t hold up since the issue had been resolved in Fink’s own lawsuit.

The panel threw out the Lake Stephens complaint since no time frame was pinpointed for the alleged misuse of funds. And the judges said the building code matter had been resolved in a 2001 civil suit dismissed with prejudice.

But Massie contends the judges used irrelevant portions of State Code to render its decision against him.

Massie said he wants the full, five-justice Supreme Court to hear his appeal.

“We’re going to present all the evidence we have,” he said.

“Every citizen has a right to be heard. They violated my rights by not hearing this. I don’t have anything against the judges. They just didn’t do their job.”

— E-mail: mannix


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