by Ron Gregory
MATEWAN– Mingo County Commission candidate Thomas Taylor, who has boasted that the Corridor Chronicle is “not really a newspaper” might have learned that it is read by more than a few in his county.
Taylor reportedly was asked about the numerous environmental violations his tire recycling company has been charged with by the state Division of Environmental Protection. A story regarding those violations has appeared exclusively in the Corridor Chronicle. The questioning came at a United Mine Workers of America interview session in Matewan.
According to several witnesses, Taylor became agitated and then outraged when questioned about the violations, for which he and his company paid fines amid numerous citations from DEP.
Taylor also outlined his plans, if elected to the County Commission, to condemn dilapidated property in Mingo. One member of the UMWA committee questioned Taylor’s right to determine that private property is a blight, according to the sources
One said that Taylor “has his eye on a certain piece of property near his business. He plans to condemn it and take it for himself.”
Questioning about the condemnation process led one committee member to ask Taylor when “do you plan to condemn your property over there with all the tires and trash and mosquitoes?”
The member went on to say “I’m afraid to let my grandchildren play outside because of that dump he calls a recycling place. There are really thousands of mosquitoes and who knows what diseases they are carrying with them?”
Taylor verbally attacked a reporter who earlier asked him about the violations, denying his busy has ever operated without a permit. Nevertheless, some of the DEP citations are for what the agency said was his firm’s “lack of permit.” According to witnesses at the UMWA interview, Taylor was just as combative with the committee.
“I looked across the table and he was whispering, ‘I’ll fix you when I catch you outside,'” one member said. “I just jumped up and said, ‘let’s go outside then, old boy, and we’ll see what happens.”
In that regard, Taylor responded much as he did when the reporter who he verbally sparred with approached Taylor in Gilbert the past Saturday. “He had told me on the phone that I would not talk to him in person as I did on the phone,” the reporter said. “I walked up to him, with several witnesses present, and asked him what he wanted me to say to his face that he felt I wouldn’t have the nerve to say. He kept telling me, ‘this is not the place for this.’ I suppose the ‘right place’ might be the Dingess Tunnel in the middle of the night when he had his thugs with him to defend him.”
Taylor, as might be expected, did not win a UMWA endorsement with his performance. One member said he also confronted Taylor about Facebook comments Taylor made supporting former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.
“He didn’t like that either,” said the member. “I told him he couldn’t have the working man a heart and be bragging about Don Blankenship. He got hot.”
One current County Commissioner said, “it makes you wonder what he might do if he didn’t get his way as a Commissioner. Would he take the other two members outside and beat them up? Or would he at least threaten to?”
Another committee member added, “maybe it’s just youth and he’s too young to be a public official. He sure makes a fool of himself.”