PIEDMONT, W.Va. — Before the start of the council meeting Wednesday evening, Piedmont Finance Commissioner Freda Fisher, who was filling in as acting mayor, voiced her support for town foreman John Shingler, who was recently indicted by a federal grand jury.
Shingler was indicted on six felony counts of embezzlement of government property and one felony count of making a false statement.
“I want to go on record saying I support John Shingler regarding these FEMA trailers,” said Fisher. “I feel he was acting in the capacity of the town foreman and doing what he was told to do by the elected officials at that time.”
Council members Grace Russell and Paula Boggs said that they both support Shingler. Fisher called Mayor Skip Clifford before the meeting and voiced his support for Shingler as well. Councilman Robert Patenaude abstained from voicing support for Shingler.
“We are on John’s side regardless of what happens,” said Fisher. “John is a good foreman. He knows his business, he knows what he is doing. How all this came about is unfortunate.”
The case is in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg and involves allegations of fraud with six Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers that were purchased in 2009. Three of the trailers were recovered in Westernport at Shingler’s residence, according to Cpl. J.E. Whisner of the West Virginia State Police.
Shingler is the sole defendant in the Piedmont FEMA trailers fraud case, according to Paul Camilletti, assistant U.S. attorney of the Northern District of West Virginia.
The jury trial for Shingler will take place March 19 in Martinsburg.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at firstname.lastname@example.org.