Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh faces ethics complaints - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh faces ethics complaints

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The mayor of Beckley is under fire for allegedly accepting gifts from business partners in return for providing free use of city resources, following the filing of two complaints before the West Virginia Ethics Commission. 

The commission's Probable Cause Review Board recently approved the complaints against Emmett Pugh, who is accused of violating the West Virginia Ethics Act.

The document alleges Beaver Coal Company General Manager R. Woodrow "Woody" Duba approached Pugh in 2006 to discuss the annexation of 72 acres of Beaver Coal Company's land to build a subdivision near East Beckley.

Beckley businessman Roy Shrewsbury formed Woodland Properties eight weeks after Beckley Common Council approved the annex.

Eight weeks after Beckley Common Council approved the annexation, Beckley businessman Roy Shrewsbury formed Woodland Properties. 

The document alleges Duba and Shrewsbury agreed to give Pugh a 49 percent interest in the properties, even though Pugh neither paid money into the company nor provided collateral.

The document also alleged the Beckley Sanitary Board installed an alternate main line extension without the Public Service Commission's approval and the Sanitary Board provided employees and equipment free of charge.

In exchange, Beaver Coal Company agreed to reimburse the board for non-Sanitary Board supplies and equipment, the document stated.

The City's Department of Public Works also paved roads for the subdivision free of charge and did not get approval by the city's common council, the document stated.

Pugh resigned ownership in 2007, and allegedly accepted $10,000 from Shrewsbury and Woodland Properties even though there was not enough equity to make this payment, according to the document.

"This payment was in contradiction of the written termination agreement which expressly stated that Mayor Pugh was not receiving any compensation for terminating," the document stated. "The written termination agreement also stated that Mayor Pugh was released from any and all liabilities of the company in exchange for $1."

After resigning ownership, Pugh allegedly accepted a 10 percent ownership from Shrewsbury and Duba in ATV at the Rock, without paying into the company or collateral.

The document says at the time Pugh accepted this ownership, he knew Shrewsbury and Beaver Coal Company were working with the city on the Beckley Intermodal Gateway Project – a multi-phase transportation center constructed in downtown Beckley.

Shrewsbury and his company ESI Inc. were hired as an outside consultant to the project, the document stated. Pugh is accused of directing the placement of spoils from the Beckley Intermodal Gateway Project on Beaver Coal Company property.

"As a stockholder in Beaver Coal Company, Mr. Shrewsbury had a financial interest in the use of the land owned by Beaver Coal Company," the document stated. "Additionally, upon information and belief, Mr. Shrewsbury was aware of a desire by Woody Duba/Beaver Coal Company to develop the land for commercial uses, including possibly a restaurant."  

Later, Pugh also allegedly directed the contractor to place a road over the property, at Duba's request for commercial development. The document states the road was not a part of the original contracted spoils work and caused a $80,000 change under the FTA grant.

The document states Pugh also attempted to sway the project manager to keep Shrewsbury and his company as consultants even though Shrewsbury did not comply with a regulation to obtain certain insurance. However, the firm did not waive its requirement and later terminated Shrewsbury and his business as consultants.

"Mayor Pugh's intervention and unilateral hire of Roy Shrewsbury occurred after the Mayor had accepted the 10 percent interest in ATV at the Rock, Inc. and while the Mayor was a business partner of Mr. Shrewsbury," the document stated.  

Lastly, the 19-page document accused Pugh of using a Beckley Sanitary Board-leased vehicle for his own private use, maintaining inaccurate mileage logs and obtaining improper mileage reimbursements.

A public hearing will be held to determine the nature of the charges. However, a date has not yet been set. A record then will be submitted to members of the West Virginia Ethics Commission for a final decision.  

Pugh has not yet returned messages left by The State Journal. 

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