Rep. Keith Hall, former state mine inspector indicted on federal bribery charges

10/23/2014 06:08 PM

A federal grand jury has indicted outgoing state Rep. Keith Hall and a former mine reclamation inspector on charges of bribery, alleging the Phelps Democrat paid more than $46,000 to have violations at his mining operations ignored.

A grand jury in London, Ky., returned the indictment against Hall, 55, and Kelly Shortridge, who was also charged with attempting to extort additional payments from Hall and lying to Federal Bureau of Investigation officials during a July interview, Thursday. Both are scheduled to appear at U.S. District Court in Pikeville Nov. 5 and report to the U.S. Probation Office in Pikeville within 48 hours.

The indictment alleges Hall paid Shortridge, then an inspector with the Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement, $46,343 between May 2009 and December 2010 to ignore potential violations at surface mines owned by the lawmaker.

Most of those payments came from Hall’s S&K Properties and Beech Creek Coal Co. disguised as consulting fees paid to a shell company, DKJ Consulting, created in March 2010 by Hall and Shortridge, with Shortridge’s wife the sole authorized signator, according to the indictment.

The indictment can be viewed here:

Rep. Hall indictment.pdf

U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey called the alleged conduct “an unacceptable breach of the public trust.”

“Such conduct undermines the public’s faith in our institutions of government and makes the job harder for the vast majority of public officials who honorably discharge their duties on behalf of the public they serve,” Harvey said in a statement. “Our office and our law enforcement partners share an unwavering commitment to the prosecution of public corruption cases in our district.”

Shortridge also allegedly sent Hall a message that if he did not pay additional money, another inspector would cite Hall’s mines for serious violations, according a press release from the Office of the U.S. Attorney. The former inspector is further accused of lying to FBI investigators in July, denying knowledge of DKJ Consulting and claiming he never received payments from S&K Properties and Hall, according to the indictment.

The bribery charges against Hall and Shortridge carry maximum prison sentences of 10 years. Shortridge also faces up to 20 years imprisonment on his extortion charge and up to five years imprisonment for lying to authorities.

Hall represented the 93rd House District in the General Assembly since 2001, but he will be replaced by Pike County Magistrate Chris Harris, who beat the incumbent by 209 votes in the May Democratic primary.


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