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Greenbrier commissioners fight back against charge

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  • Charges dismissed against Greenbrier Co. Commissioners

    Charges dismissed against Greenbrier Co. Commissioners

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    Charges against former and current Greenbrier County Commissioners have been dropped.  Former Commission President Betty Crookshanks and current Commission President Karen Lobban were each indicted in June on one count of misappropriation of hotel occupancy tax.

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    Charges against former and current Greenbrier County Commissioners have been dropped.  Former Commission President Betty Crookshanks and current Commission President Karen Lobban were each indicted in June on one count of misappropriation of hotel occupancy tax.

    More >>

LEWISBURG (WVVA) - Tuesday afternoon, legal council for former Greenbrier County Commission President Betty Crookshanks tried to have the charge against her dropped.

Both she and current president, Karen Lobban, were indicted in June each on one count of misappropriation of the hotel occupancy tax.

Crookshanks' council tried to cite a number of things including an immunity clause reserved for legislative bodies.

The special prosecutor assigned to the case, Eugene Simmons, said those claims have no legitimacy. "[County Commission is] not what we consider in law to be a legislative body or one able to take the benefits of the immunity statute. That was the motion we argued. The judge ruled in our favor and said the indictment was good."

Lobban tried to have her charge dropped on August 25, but also to no avail. However, today her lawyer told the judge he planned to re file for dismissal.

In December 2010, the commissioners both voted to give $1.3 million to New River Community And Technical School in Lewisburg to renovate a swimming pool on campus.

Evidence that was brought to the grand jury were letters written to and from the state auditor.

In the first letter, crookshanks asks permission to use the money for the pool which was leased by the county.

The auditor responds saying that would not be allowed since it's not county owned property.

Crookshanks then writes another letter, rewording her request to use the money to renovate the fine arts building. In it, she does mention the pool, but says the money will be used to enhance the arts, culture, and history for the community.

The auditor gives the go ahead.

"The hotel motel tax is set up specifically for a certain purpose," Simmons explains. "And she didn't -- she gave a million dollars to a college which wasn't included in the matter in which they're asking for."

Simmons says both woman could be held accountable for the funds if found guilty.

Both commissioners and their attorneys refused to comment.

Their trials are set for October 2 and 3, however, the second motion to dismiss for Lobban should be set before then.

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