LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — A former state representative and Pikeville coal operator, Wendell Keith Hall, has been sentenced to 7 years for bribing a state mine official.
On Thursday, a U.S. District Judge 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 as an environmental inspector for 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.