Former Mountain Laurel general manager admits taking $1 million - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Former Mountain Laurel general manager admits taking $1 million in kickbacks from WV Arch Coal vendors

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 The former manager of Arch Coal Co.’s Mountain Laurel Mining Complex has admitted to taking $1 million in kickbacks from vendors fearful of losing work.

David E. Runyon, 45, of Delbarton, West Virginia, faces up to 25 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to extortion and tax evasion, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Runyon said he took kickbacks from vendors in exchange for continuing to hire them.

The kickbacks to the Arch Coal employees between 2006 and 2012 totaled more than $1.8 million.

“This kind of pay-to-play scheme hurts honest vendors in the coal industry—business people who refuse to pay bribes as a way to get customers,” Goodwin said. “The corrupt way that this defendant did business should be a thing of the past. It’s bad for the economy and, ultimately, bad for consumers.”

Goodwin said Runyon admitted:

*Taking kickbacks from companies performing rebuild jobs at Mountain Laurel, which included Tri-State Mine Service, Inc., owned by Scott Ellis and later joined by Stephen Herndon after he left Arch Coal, and Carter Sales and Service and Apex Mining Construction and Repair, Inc., owned by Donald Carter. Ellis, Carter, and later Herndon understood that they would be excluded from being vendors if they stopped paying kickbacks.

*Accepting kickbacks from Ronald Barnette, owner of Mining Repair Specialist, Inc. MRS performed rebuild and repair work on mining equipment at Mountain Laurel. Goodwin said Barnette understood if he did not pay the kickbacks, his company would no longer be permitted to perform rebuild work at Mountain Laurel.

*Taking cash from Alvis Porter, who operated Quality Oil, Inc., which was doing business at Mountain Laurel as Southern Construction of Logan. Porter’s company performed a variety of construction services at Mountain Laurel, and Porter paid the kickbacks to keep that work.

*Receiving illicit payments from David Herndon, who owned and operated MAC Mine Service, Inc., which provided contract labor at Mountain Laurel. David Herndon paid the kickbacks because he believed that he would lose the business at Mountain Laurel if the kickbacks were not paid.

Runyon admitted that he received roughly $1 million in kickbacks. He also admitted that he owed a little more than $426,000 in federal taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

He’s scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 19.

Herndon, Ellis, Barnette, Porter and Gary Roeher, all of Holden, and Gary Griffith, an Oceana, West Virginia resident, previously entered guilty pleas.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the West Virginia State Police investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution

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