Richwood’s Baber begins prison term; judge rejects probation recommendation

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — Previous Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber was sentenced to 1-10 decades in

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — Previous Richwood Mayor Bob Henry Baber was sentenced to 1-10 decades in prison Tuesday just after a past guilty plea in link with how revenue was put in adhering to the June 2016 flood.

Bob Henry Baber

In sentencing Baber to prison time, Nicholas County Circuit Choose Steve Callaghan turned down a advice from prosecutors that Baber be granted probation.

Distinctive Prosecutor Steve Connolly reported Callaghan told Baber he had violated the community trust.

In accordance to Connolly the choose said,’”At the time that you committed this crime you have been the mayor of the town and people of the city voted for you and entrusted you to carry out things to the biggest effectiveness for them and the community and you abused that.’”

Baber, 70, was escorted out of the courtroom after Tuesday’s hearing and taken to the Central Regional Jail to get started his sentence. Connolly explained he could be up for parole in the near long run.

“With it getting a non-violent felony, they have this accelerated parole system as a result of the Parole Board, it would extradite the time he’s in. In a several months he could be eligible,” Connolly said.

Judge Stephen Callaghan

Baber pleaded guilty in August to a prosecutor’s info to obtaining money by wrong pretenses, a felony. Connolly stated Baber was forthcoming immediately after receiving a focus on letter that he was underneath investigation. He mentioned that is why prosecutors advisable no jail time.

“Not due to the fact he’s a very good human being or a great man or had excellent intentions but it was the situation we ended up still left with,” Connolly advised MetroNews Tuesday.

Baber defrauded the metropolis in the amount of money of $2,443. He instructed the city’s payroll clerk to spend him for work he claimed he did after the flood but prior to using business office.

“It was small period of time of time some of which he was not even in the condition,” Connolly mentioned.

Prosecutors dropped numerous other expenses towards Baber as element of the agreement. Some of those people fees had to do with alleged unlawful buys designed by Baber’s condition-issued buying card.

Baber did not communicate throughout Tuesday’s sentencing. He apologized all through his August plea listening to.

“It was a horrible lapse of judgment to push for payment for volunteer flood restoration get the job done executed ahead of I was sworn in as Mayor. I evidently and unequivocally realize it was illegal, mistaken, and unethical. I pressured Clerk Abby McClung to create the verify in the volume of $2,443.64,” Baber reported in parBaber will go on to assist investigators who are even now on the lookout for about $1.3 million of $3 million in resources allocated to Richwood pursuing the flood. Condition law enforcement charged Baber, former Richwood recorder and previous mayor Chris Drennen, former town clerk McClung and previous law enforcement chief Lloyd Cogar in March 2019 in connection with the investigation.

Steve Connolly

Connolly claimed the other defendants are in a pretrial diversion stage and are required to cooperate with investigators.

“This is not about,” Connolly reported.

He said what transpired in the months subsequent the flood was a “perfect storm.”

Connolly explained Nicholas County experienced no county formal to oversee flood recovery so Richwood officials set up their personal incident command team that “blew up the payroll” and advised every person they would inevitably be reimbursed by the federal government.

According to Connolly the workforce extra persons to the flood restoration payroll.

“They determined who received paid out, when, how a lot, exactly where the dollars went. It was a shadow authorities,” he stated.

Connolly stated the investigation misplaced two yrs when after the charges ended up in the beginning submitted by the point out, the U.S. Attorney’s Place of work for southern West Virginia took the situation for months before selecting not to prosecute. He said they received the information again from federal prosecutors before this year.