Cumberland Times-News

Local News

August 20, 2013

Thousands of dollars owed in storage fees

PIEDMONT, W.Va. — John Shingler, town foreman, has been ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to three victims but it is unclear at this point who will pay the thousands of dollars in storage fees that are due for the six Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers at the root of the case.

The U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia, Martinsburg, could not order Shingler to pay the storage fees, according to Chris Zumpetta-Parr, supervisory paralegal specialist with the district.

The six FEMA trailers that were purchased by the town, sold to citizens and then returned to the city following a police investigation are currently being stored at Iser’s 24-hour Towing in Fort Ashby.

The storage fee as of June is $107,000, according to owner Jimmy Iser. Iser said Tuesday the town has not made arrangements to pay.

Piedmont Mayor Leon Garland said Tuesday afternoon that he had just learned of the outcome of Shingler’s sentencing on Monday. He said the council hadn’t had a chance to discuss the storage fees yet  — or whether Shingler would retain his current status as town foreman.

Shingler was sentenced Monday to serve three months in federal prison and be placed on one year of supervised release after the jail term.

The town has paid Shingler’s legal fees and the money came from the general account, councilwoman Freda Fisher indicated during a June council meeting. Garland said he didn’t know the amount of Shingler’s legal fees.

It was not known if the town would pay the court-ordered restitution imposed on Shingler as part of his sentence.

The West Virginia Ethics Commission sent a letter listing Piedmont as the injured party and that money shouldn’t be spent on anybody being charged with crimes, said former Councilman Ray Hall during the June council meeting.   

“My office considers the city of Piedmont a victim in this case,” said West Virginia State Police Sgt. J.M. Droppleman of the Keyser detachment during a recent Piedmont town meeting. “It’s hurt the town’s reputation and it’s hurt the town financially. It’s unfortunate for the taxpayers and the people that live here.”

Hall provided West Virginia State Police with a tape of an executive session during which the trailers were discussed. Hall said he felt an obligation to do what he did and that he didn’t have any regrets.

The next council meeting will be held on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. in the city office.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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