Mingo County Commissioner arrested for attempted extortion - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Mingo County Commissioner arrested for attempted extortion

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Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden was arrested in connection to a federal investigation Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden was arrested in connection to a federal investigation
MINGO COUNTY, WV -

Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden was arrested Thursday morning and charged with extortion in what could be the first of two arrests in a long-rumored investigation of corruption in Mingo County government.

The federal indictment charging Baisden with extortion was unsealed after his arrest. The name on the other indictment has not been released, and it has not been unsealed.

The U.S. Attorney's office has a press conference schedule at 2 p.m.

(RELATED NEWS: Mingo County Circuit Judge facing federal charges)

The indictment charges Baisden with extortion under color of official right, specifically, attempting to obstruct, delay and affecting commerce and the movement of an article and commodity in commerce.

According to the indictment, which was filed Aug. 14, Baisden was the purchasing agent for the Mingo County Commission. He had the authority to purchase goods and services on behalf of the commission and to choose the suppliers of those goods and services.

Jerry Colegrove was a commission employee who managed and supervised a garage operated by the commission for the purpose of maintaining commission-owned vehicles.

From 2007 through June 2009, the commission routinely purchased tires from an Appalachian Tire store in Williamson. Baisden completed purchase orders, and Colegrove took delivery of the tires.

Appalachian Tire sold tires to the commission at a discounted price. That price was for government vehicles only and was not available for private purchases for personal vehicles.

Around June 2009, Baisden directed Colegrove to purchase a set of tires belonging to Baisden and Baisden's wife. The tires were to be purchased from Appalachian Tire at the government price.

When Appalachian Tire learned the tires were to be used on Baisden's personal vehicle, it refused to sell them at the discounted price. Colegrove told Appalachian Tire that it risked losing the county's business, but the store refused to sell them at the discounted price.

On June 12, 2009, Baisden left a voicemail message with Appalachian Tire saying that if it did not sell him the tires at the discounted price, the store would lose the county's business. The store did not respond to the threat and it refused to sell the tires at the discounted price.

On June 15, Baisden again phoned the store to tell the manager that it had lost the commission's business. Baisden directed Colegrove to stop purchasing tires at the store.

(FULL INDICTMENT)

Baisden appeared with his attorney Jim Cagle before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwane Tinsley Aug. 15.

Tinsley set Baisden's arraignment for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 and released him on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Tinsley read a list of people Baisden is not to contact while out on bond, including fellow county commissioners Grant "Hootie" Smith and John Mark Hubbard.  

Cagle asked Tinsley to reconsider a lack of contact with the other two county commissioners during scheduled commission meetings.

"I don't know how he can conduct business as he was elected to do if he can't talk to them," Cagle said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby said the government did not have any objections to modifying those conditions, and Tinsley ruled Cagle could talk to his fellow county commissioners when participating in county business but cannot talk about the case.