By Rachel Baldwin
Williamson Daily News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A former county commissioner was the first of several Mingo County officials to be sentenced to prison, receiving a 20-month term, after he was indicted on a federal extortion charge and resigned from office.
According to information provided by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, in June 2009, David Baisden, 67, of Delbarton, shook down the Appalachian Tire store in Williamson for a deep discount on tires for his personal car, threatening to cut off the store’s county business unless it complied. When Appalachian refused Baisden’s demand, he used his authority as the commission’s purchasing agent to make good on his threat, stripping Appalachian of nearly $60,000 in county business.
Earlier this month, Baisden agreed to pay a total of $7,700 in restitution to Appalachian Tire and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He is required to make monthly payments over a three-year period until the debt is fulfilled. He had faced up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The defendant resigned from the commission, where he served as the county’s purchasing agent, a week after his guilty plea. This plea and agreement barred Baisden from ever seeking or serving in public office again. He will spend three years on federal supervised release after he serves his 20-month sentence.
Baisden’s attorney, Jim Cagle, had sought probation, noting that his client had no salary, had lost his pension and has prostate cancer, and is scheduled to begin treatment. Cagle presented a petition containing more than 1,000 signatures of individuals who asked that the former commissioner receive probation, along with a number of personal reference letters. The judge still sentenced Baisden to 20 months in prison…