WILLIAMSON – Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden, 66, was arrested by state and federal authorities Thursday morning and charged with alleged extortion.
The indictment says that Baisden, who is the former county assessor, was acting as the purchasing agent for the Mingo County Commission (MCC). As the purchasing agent he had the authority to buy goods and services on behalf of the MCC.
The indictment states Jerry Colegrove, who was an employee of the commission at the county garage, was directed by Baisden to purchase a set of tires for a personal vehicle. In 2009, Baisden directed Colegrove to purchase the tires from Appalachian Tire at the “government price.”
When Appalachian Tire learned the tires were to be used on a personal vehicle, it refused to sell them at the special government price. In response, Colegrove told the tire company that “Baisden was a powerful official and that Appalachian would risk losing its business with the County Commission if it did not sell Baisden the tires for personnel use at the government price.”
Appalachian nonetheless maintained its refusal to sell Baisden tires for his personal vehicle.
The indictment states that on or about June 12, 2009, Baisden contacted Appalachian Tire and left a voicemail message for the store’s manager. In the voicemail message Baisden threatened that the County Commission would stop purchasing tires from Appalachian if the company refused to sell Baisden the tires for personal use at the government price.
The indictment says that Appalachian did not respond to this threat and did not sell Baisden the tires.
On or about June 15, 2009, Baisden again telephoned Appalachian’s store manager, this time to tell him that the Commission would no longer purchase tires from Appalachian because they had refused to sell him tires for personnel use at the special price.
Baisden then directed Colegrove to stop purchasing tires from Appalachian Tire and find a different supplier of tires for the Commission. The indictment says that Colegrove did as Baisden directed, and after Colegrove located a substitute supplier for tires, the County Commission ceased purchasing tires from that company.
This particular indictment states that Baisden “did and did attempt to obstruct, delay and affect commerce and the movement of an article and commodity in commerce, in the Southern District of West Virginia and elsewhere, by extortion under color of official right.”
Appalachian Tire is located in Williamson.