Judge Dismisses Suit Against Pocahontas County Commission
Marlinton, WV – On Wednesday, Judge Joseph Pomponio dismissed a civil suit against the Pocahontas County Commission. The lawsuit, filed by Jerome Heinemann, of Dunmore, claimed that the commission illegally transferred land to a private corporation.
The subject of Heinemasnn’s suit is three acres that the county commission transferred to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation – the GVEDC – in 2007. The development corporation subsequently leased the three acres to Jacob and Malinda Meck, who operate multiple businesses, employing 10 full-time workers, on the property.
In Heinemann’s 25-page pleading, styled as a writ of prohibition, the Dunmore resident argued, quote:
“The PCC has willfully refused and avoided any public auction, contrary to established law, and has in fact willfully circumvented, in an ultra vires manner, its legal mandate to be the guardian, protector and steward of all land and property held in common by the Citizens of Pocahontas County; and it has done so with an incestuous relationship with a private corporation known as the GVEDC which even receives the rental income, as ill-gotten gain, over the properties held in common by the Citizens of Pocahontas County.”
Heinemann requested that the court: quote “restore all public land and property that has not adhered to the legal requirements as set forth in the West Virginia Code.”
Attorney Jason Long filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of the commission. Long noted that the GVEDC is not a private business, as Heinemann claimed, but a public corporation and political subdivision of the State. The motion further noted that state law authorizes county commissions to transfer land to economic development entities, such as the GVEDC.
Long also contended that a writ of prohibition was, procedurally, an improper form to style the case. On Wednesday morning, Judge Pomponio granted the commission’s motion to dismiss. A copy of the judge’s order was not available at air time.