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Hatfield resigns as Williamson mayor

By Nancy Peyton Brown, Williamson Daily News

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Williamson Mayor Charles Hatfield resigned Friday, May 3 during an emergency meeting of the city council, citing an ongoing criminal investigation into his time as CEO of the former Williamson Memorial Hospital. City Clerk Alma Smith, who has served in her role for approximately two weeks, will serve as defacto mayor after council members failed to appoint an interim replacement for Hatfield.

According to an information filing in the United States District Court for Southern West Virginia from April 29, the United States Attorney charges that Hatfield from on or about May 1, 2019 to October 1, 2019 “did knowingly embezzle, steal, obtain by fraud, and otherwise without authority knowingly convert to the use of any person other than the rightful owner, and intentionally misapplied” property of Williamson Memorial Hospital.

Specifically, the informational filing claims Hatfield misapplied approximately $34,872.62 from Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs and “knowingly converted them without authority to his own use and the use of his company, Mid Mountain Properties.”

The following day, on April 30, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia filed a motion for a guilty plea hearing to be scheduled in the case. The hearing, originally scheduled for May 14, will take place at 10 a.m. on May 30 before United States District Judge Irene C. Berger.

Williamson Memorial Hospital filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 21, 2019 before closing its doors on April 21, 2020 — just one month into the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital initially announced the impending closure back in March 2020 according to Williamson Daily News coverage from the time and said they were operating as a debtor-in-possession in a bankruptcy case in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Williamson Health & Wellness Center Inc. announced that a $3.68 million bid to purchase most of the assets of Williamson Memorial Hospital had been approved by the U.S Bankruptcy Court in 2020.

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