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Friday, July 24, 2015

"Jane Doe" on Docket Not Related to BVU Scandal
The "Jane Doe" on the federal court docket in Abingdon turned out unrelated to the Bristol Virginia Utilities scandal. There were no new arrests or charges, although along with former CEO Wes Rosenbalm, several employees are said in filings by prosecutors to be involved in lining their pockets with bonuses and gifts, many donated by BVU vendors, and failed to report the income on tax returns. Those documents show one is a female, and is referred to as a co-conspirator. Before Rosenbalm appeared in court and pled guilty, he was listed as "John Doe." Federal prosecutor Zack Lee said today the investigation is ongoing and declined further comment.

New Residents Begin Training At Jonson Memorial Hospital
After a shortage of Family Medicine Doctors in our region was recognized, Johnson Memorial Hospital in Abingdon partnered with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine to fill the need. The first class of resident physicians has begun their training across a variety of specialties at Johnson Memorial. It is the hope of the Hospital that many of the trainees will start their own practices in the area.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Jane Doe" on Docket Not Related to BVU Scandal
The "Jane Doe" on the federal court docket in Abingdon turned out unrelated to the Bristol Virginia Utilities scandal. There were no new arrests or charges, although along with former CEO Wes Rosenbalm, several employees are said in filings by prosecutors to be involved in lining their pockets with bonuses and gifts, many donated by BVU vendors, and failed to report the income on tax returns. Those documents show one is a female, and is referred to as a co-conspirator. Before Rosenbalm appeared in court and pled guilty, he was listed as "John Doe." Federal prosecutor Zack Lee said today the investigation is ongoing and declined further comment.

New Residents Begin Training At Jonson Memorial Hospital
After a shortage of Family Medicine Doctors in our region was recognized, Johnson Memorial Hospital in Abingdon partnered with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine to fill the need. The first class of resident physicians has begun their training across a variety of specialties at Johnson Memorial. It is the hope of the Hospital that many of the trainees will start their own practices in the area.

First of 23 Defendants in Meth, Money Laundering Ring Sentenced
Eight people involved in a methamphetamine ring based in Abingdon have been sentenced in federal court. The latest is Robert Preston Smith who received 3 yrs in prison. He was among 23 people arrested last December and charged in a meth and money laundering ring that stretched from Virginia to California. Court records show William Honaker, Jeffery Stevens and Chadrick Bartley were also sentenced as part of the case earlier this month.

Court Documents: Former BVU CEO Had Female Co-Conspirator
Details of the crimes committed by former Bristol Virginia Utilities CEO Wes Rosenbalm are revealed in new court filings, including that he had a female co-conspirator. An arrest of the other BVU employee may be imminent. A "Jane Doe" is scheduled on the docket Thursday in federal court in Abingdon. That's where Rosenbalm appeared in court and pleaded guilty to tax evasion and a corruption conspiracy. He faces up to 5 years in prison at sentencing Oct. 8th. According to the charges filed: Rosenbalm "and others" in employment at BVU corruptly solicited or demanded items of value from vendors to influence or reward BVU as part of doing business. That is cited as illegal of a government agency that receives more than $10,000 in federal program or grant funding. More specifically, the charges outline: in 2008, Rosenbalm, while chair of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, directed "co-conspirator #1" and other BVU employees to contact BVU business vendors and "tell them" to become members of the chamber; in 2009 Rosenbalm directed the unnamed "co-conspirator" and other employees to contact a company in Georgia to solicit funding for a celebration luncheon for BVU employees; in 2011 while in preliminary contract negotiations with a company and in anticipation of that company bidding to do business with BVU, the co-conspirator requested that company provide tickets to a University of Kentucky ball game for Rosenbalm and his five children; also in 2011 and 2012, Rosenbalm and the co-conspirator solicited a company to sponsor alcohol purchases for a BVU customer appreciation event, a Thanksgiving lunch, a $15,000 Christmas dinner and more; that BVU paid bonuses to employees outside of normal payroll and didn't report the expense to the IRS, from 2009 to 2013, paying at least $48,000 in such bonuses. The filings say Rosenbalm as CEO knew IRS forms did not accurately reflect the compensation. It also says he and others used government vehicles for personal use and did not report the taxable benefit. The filings also say from December 2007 to April 2015, the utility paid for $69,000 in country club membership fees to Rosenbalm, the co-conspirator and two other unnamed employees and this taxable benefit went unreported to the IRS.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First of 23 Defendants in Meth, Money Laundering Ring Sentenced
Eight people involved in a methamphetamine ring based in Abingdon have been sentenced in federal court. The latest is Robert Preston Smith who received 3 yrs in prison. He was among 23 people arrested last December and charged in a meth and money laundering ring that stretched from Virginia to California. Court records show William Honaker, Jeffery Stevens and Chadrick Bartley were also sentenced as part of the case earlier this month.

Court Documents: Former BVU CEO Had Female Co-Conspirator
Details of the crimes committed by former Bristol Virginia Utilities CEO Wes Rosenbalm are revealed in new court filings, including that he had a female co-conspirator. An arrest of the other BVU employee may be imminent. A "Jane Doe" is scheduled on the docket Thursday in federal court in Abingdon. That's where Rosenbalm appeared in court and pleaded guilty to tax evasion and a corruption conspiracy. He faces up to 5 years in prison at sentencing Oct. 8th. According to the charges filed: Rosenbalm "and others" in employment at BVU corruptly solicited or demanded items of value from vendors to influence or reward BVU as part of doing business. That is cited as illegal of a government agency that receives more than $10,000 in federal program or grant funding. More specifically, the charges outline: in 2008, Rosenbalm, while chair of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, directed "co-conspirator #1" and other BVU employees to contact BVU business vendors and "tell them" to become members of the chamber; in 2009 Rosenbalm directed the unnamed "co-conspirator" and other employees to contact a company in Georgia to solicit funding for a celebration luncheon for BVU employees; in 2011 while in preliminary contract negotiations with a company and in anticipation of that company bidding to do business with BVU, the co-conspirator requested that company provide tickets to a University of Kentucky ball game for Rosenbalm and his five children; also in 2011 and 2012, Rosenbalm and the co-conspirator solicited a company to sponsor alcohol purchases for a BVU customer appreciation event, a Thanksgiving lunch, a $15,000 Christmas dinner and more; that BVU paid bonuses to employees outside of normal payroll and didn't report the expense to the IRS, from 2009 to 2013, paying at least $48,000 in such bonuses. The filings say Rosenbalm as CEO knew IRS forms did not accurately reflect the compensation. It also says he and others used government vehicles for personal use and did not report the taxable benefit. The filings also say from December 2007 to April 2015, the utility paid for $69,000 in country club membership fees to Rosenbalm, the co-conspirator and two other unnamed employees and this taxable benefit went unreported to the IRS.

UPDATE: Former BVU CEO Enters Guilty Plea in Federal Court
Federal authorities finally lasso former Bristol, Virginia Utilities CEO Wes Rosenbalm on criminal charges. Under a plea deal, Rosenbalm appeared in court in Abingdon, admitting to lining his own pockets by evading income taxes and soliciting "extravagant" ballgame tickets, alcohol, dinners and party supplies for employees, from vendors in business with BVU as part of a conspiracy to commit federal grant program fraud. He's agreed to pay $150,000 in restitution to BVU for taxes and penalties owed by the public utility as a result of his conduct. Prosecutor Zack Lee on whether there will be others charged: "This is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to comment on whether there are other targets." Rosembalm faces up to five years in prison at sentencing Oct. 8th. Todd Edwards of South Carolina, was sentenced to two years in prison for his part in the million dollar BVU fiber optic development fraud and kickback scheme. His attorney, Tom Bondurant, says Edwards was the one who fingered Rosenbalm at the top of a culture of corruption." He went on to say, "For BVU, a job well done on time and under budget was never enough. Executives always demanded a little something extra on the top."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

UPDATE: Former BVU CEO Enters Guilty Plea in Federal Court
Federal authorities finally lasso former Bristol, Virginia Utilities CEO Wes Rosenbalm on criminal charges. Under a plea deal, Rosenbalm appeared in court in Abingdon, admitting to lining his own pockets by evading income taxes and soliciting "extravagant" ballgame tickets, alcohol, dinners and party supplies for employees, from vendors in business with BVU as part of a conspiracy to commit federal grant program fraud. He's agreed to pay $150,000 in restitution to BVU for taxes and penalties owed by the public utility as a result of his conduct. Prosecutor Zack Lee on whether there will be others charged: "This is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to comment on whether there are other targets." Rosembalm faces up to five years in prison at sentencing Oct. 8th. Todd Edwards of South Carolina, was sentenced to two years in prison for his part in the million dollar BVU fiber optic development fraud and kickback scheme. His attorney, Tom Bondurant, says Edwards was the one who fingered Rosenbalm at the top of a culture of corruption." He went on to say, "For BVU, a job well done on time and under budget was never enough. Executives always demanded a little something extra on the top."

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