LEXINGTON — A former state representative and Pikeville coal operator, Wendell Keith Hall, has been sentenced to 7 years for bribing a state mine official.
Today, U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell sentenced Hall, 56, and also ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine and serve two years on supervised release, following service of his sentence. Under federal law, Hall will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.
Hall, who represented House District 93 in the Kentucky General Assembly, was convicted by a jury, in June, of paying former mine reclamation officer Kelly Shortridge, for favorable treatment in connection with his official duties.
Shortridge worked at the Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement, where he was responsible for enforcing mine reclamation statutes and regulations. Evidence presented at trial established that from 2006 through 2011, Shortridge inspected mines owned by Hall and ignored violations that occurred on Hall’s property, in exchange for a series of payments totaling over $46,000.
The evidence also established that the two men disguised the payments as consulting fees. In 2010, a shell company, DKJ Consulting, was established in the name of Shortridge’s wife. Hall then used a company he owned, S&K Properties, to funnel money to Shortridge, through DKJ, in order to make the payments appear as legitimate business expenses.
Shortridge was sentenced to two years in prison in January.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Howard S. Marshall, Special Agent in Charge, FBI; and Scott Oliver, Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General, jointly made the announcement.
(Corrects the original article on where Shortridge worked.
The press release that was sent out incorrectly states that Mr. Hall bribed an environmental inspector from the Office of Surface Mine [sic] Reclamation and Enforcement by the name of Kelly Shortridge.
Kelly Shortridge was not an employee of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
He worked for the Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement. No employees from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement were involved in this case.)