(09/10/2014)
The Calhoun Commission moved to have a formal WV Ethics Commission investigation and decision regarding the sale of a number of guns owned by the county and sold by Calhoun Sheriff Carl Ballengee.

The commission said the sheriff failed to respond to two written requests from the commission regarding the sale of the guns, the amount obtained from the sale and into what county account the money was deposited.

The WV Ethics Commission, in a general advisory opinion issued earlier, said the sheriff did not follow proper procedure in selling the guns.

Commission President Scottie "Chip" Westfall said, "We are obligated to take this action, being responsible to uphold WV Code and being responsible for the county budget."

Sheriff Ballengee has advised the commission he has hired an attorney regarding the matter, indicating concerns that charges are being inaccurately brought against him.

The commission said no charges have been brought against the sheriff, that the commission will rely on the Ethics Commission decision.

A number of guns were reportedly sold by the sheriff to the son of ex-deputy Randy Holcomb, the son a licensed gun dealer.

The WV Ethics Commission opinion, not a legal decision, indicated that it was wrong to sell county weapons without advertisement, auction, third-party appraisal or approval of a county commission.

In further question is in what county line-item fund the money from the sale was deposited by the sheriff.

The ethics opinion indicates the money should have been turned over to the General County Fund, which there is no record.

The commission took the ethics action following an executive session Monday with Calhoun Prosecutor Shannon Johnson.

The commission is continuing to try and obtain information regarding the assets and distribution of assets by the former Calhoun Emergency Ambulance Service.

So far, that information is being held by a Charleston law firm which was reportedly hired by former EMS president Patty Wilmoth.

That firm has continued to schedule appearances before the commission, but have canceled, the next appearance is set for October.

Sources have indicated that the Internal Revenue Service is likely placing a lien against the agency assets, but that could not be confirmed.

The agency reportedly did not pay withholding taxes to the IRS.


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