The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pork Rind Politics and Corruption Takes another Hit in Southwest Virginia


Eight More Indicted facing 100+ Charges!

The Web Widens and the Noose Tightens!!!


Back in August of 2006, the Iconoclast reported on the widening investigation out in Southwest Virginia involving public officials who bought the local Appalachian Town elections in 2004 with such comical bribes as pork rinds.

The original investigation which started off as a somewhat amusing story about buying votes with pork rinds seems to have spun out of control eventually involving up to three special prosecutors following different paths to other suspected criminal activity. One aspect of the widening investigation was the suspicion that public officials may have been protecting criminal enterprises, misusing police powers for political retribution, taking kick-backs and other unpleasantness.

The use of public offices and local law enforcement personnel to protect large scale, organized gambling operations was one of the suspected criminal activities. These operations were raided last Summer and large amounts of gambling equipment and cash was seized.

At that time we predicted that other indictments were on the way. See “Appalachia Investigation Widens.”

Well, we knew it was coming sooner or later. And yes, another big shoe dropped with the news report out of Roanoke this morning that eight more individuals, not including those previously convicted in the election fraud case, have been indicted and now face in excess of 100 new counts including various racketeering, money laundering, gambling and related offenses.

See “Gambling probe nets more than 100 charges” in the Roanoke Times.

According to this news report, prosecutors are being coy about the details but have indicated that the investigation continues and additional charges are anticipated.

Where will it all end?

Coincidentally, ex-Mayor Ben Cooper, the “Boss Hogg” of Appalachia was scheduled to face sentencing today in the aftermath of his conviction on 243 counts of election fraud stemming from the 2004 election "fix". Thirteen other fine citizens of Appalachia had also been charged and previously convicted including other public officials and law-enforcement personnel. Now facing sentencing as the so called "ring-leader", one has to wonder who else ex-Mayor Cooper has dropped the dime on.

More indictments coming? Mmmm...

Isn’t it funny, in a pathetic sort of way, how one thing leads to another?

Oh well, maybe in time authorities will finally get to the bottom of the sad case of official corruption in this little Southwestern Virginia community.

But for now, this thing just keeps on getting worse.

3 Comments:

  • At 1/18/2007 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You best wait to see just where this thing goes. Suprise, suprise!

     
  • At 1/21/2007 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kinda looks like the judge is not to happy about the ex-Mayor's misdeeds. She is balking on the recommended two years in jail.

     
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