By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
Wendy Miller, John A. Elmore, B. Wayne Thompson, Ovid Need and Bonnie Haggerty are so intimidated by the actions of the Hardy County Commission, they have filed a motion in regard to case 14-C-17 in Circuit Court requesting Judge Lawrence S. Miller Jr. provide them with protection and not compel them to testify in an upcoming hearing.
Miller was appointed by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to hear that portion of a civil case, 13-C-76, filed in November 2013 which requested a nullification of the Special Emergency Ambulance Ordinance and Fee and the purchase of the former Mathias-Baker Rescue Squad building.
A three-judge panel heard the portion of petition 13-C-76 that requested the removal of Commissioner J. Michael Teets and Commissioner William “JR” Keplinger from office. The panel bifurcated the request for removal from the request for nullification. The requests for nullification were assigned case #14-C-17.
The panel ruled there was insufficient grounds for their removal.
Through their attorney, J. David Judy, the petitioners have requested Judge Miller consider the evidence presented in case 13-C-76, which speaks to the nullification of the fee and the purchase of the building. The motion contends that “judicial economy would be served” if that testimony and evidence were considered. “A second trial with the same testimony and the same documentary evidence to be presented is unnecessary,” the motion states.
The motion further contends, “As a result of the actions taken by Commissioners Teets and Keplinger as well as other political figures with the Hardy County government and historical government, your Petitioners are very concerned and hesitate to further present testimony and evidence and to further proceed in this action upon threats made against your petitioners within pleadings of the respondents and by public figures in Hardy County which include politically involved families in Hardy County.”
The motion enumerates “a campaign against the petitioners herein of retaliation and intimidation resulting from the petition.” The motion describes the difficulty Ovid Need experienced when listed as a poll worker for the Primary Election.
At the March 4 meeting of the Hardy County Commission, Teets and Keplinger objected to Need’s inclusion as a poll worker because “he doesn’t pay taxes.” Teets requested Prosecuting attorney Lucas See investigate Need to determine if he is legally not paying property taxes. “Significantly, Commissioners Teets and Keplinger made no such requests that the prosecuting attorney investigate any of the other ministers and parsonages in Hardy County, West Virginia,” the motion states.