by Ron Gregory
CHARLESTON — Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey ruled Thursday morning that she has no jurisdiction in a case involving former Dunbar Mayor Roger Wolfe.
After hearing Wolfe’s arguments that he was not accorded a proper hearing by the state Ethics Commission six years ago, Bailey said she understood the ex-Mayor’s “dissatisfaction” but had no jurisdiction to do anything about it.
In his presentation, Wolfe maintained that he was charged with various ethical violations. He said, however, that he was prepared to offer evidence that “would prove they were lying and I was telling the truth.” The Ethics Commission, he said, would not allow him to have an attorney representing him or to call witnesses on his behalf.
Wolfe maintained that “all I ever tried to do was what was best for the taxpayers of Dunbar.” He said various charges against him were unfounded. The former chief also explained that he did not receive any salary while serving as the town’s chief executive.
Wolfe has maintained his innocence since 2010 and has called his prosecution a “travesty of justice.”
Wolfe had sought a ruling from Bailey that would have stopped the Ethics Commission was applying and enforcing a lien on his real estate. He told the judge that he did not appeal the Commission’s orders in a timely manner because of severe health problems. “I was in no condition to appeal anything,” he said. “I was barely alive”
While saying she understood Wolfe’s dilemma, Bailey said her court’s only role in the matter was to be certain judgment had been properly obtained in the case and that the lien filing was proper. On those counts, she said her review showed the judgment and filing were accurate.
Following the hearing, Wolfe said he would continue to seek avenues of appeal. “I am not going to stop until I have some sort of justice,” he said.
Early in his presentation, the ex-Mayor told the judge his “life has been ruined by them (pointing to the Ethics Commission counsel seated in the courtroom)” and that “all I want is a fair opportunity to present my side of the story. I’ve never gotten that chance”