Mingo Prosecutor Michael Sparks will recommend that a deputy wrongfully terminated by Sheriff Eugene Crum be reinstated when a new sheriff takes office.
Arthur Farra was terminated from his position as a sergeant with the Mingo Sheriff's Department on February 18, 2013 for a reason that was not the same as the one given, Sparks said.
"The official reason stated was pretext for an improper reason," Sparks said. "The official reason given, of course, was insubordination."
Sparks said a person gave information about the "improper reason" for the firing to an assistant prosecutor and county commissioners during an informal meeting last week. Sparks was then made aware of the information and confirmed it with the original source, who he would not name.
Sparks then immediately reported the details to federal investigators. He would not say why he informed federal authorities. He would neither confirm nor deny that the disputed reason for termination had anything to do with the federal corruption case against Mingo Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury.
He also would not discuss further what the reason was for Farra's termination.
"Of course Sheriff Crum is not here and so we can't confirm it through him but the information I've given shows that it was an invalid reason," Sparks said.
"As we receive evidence of improprieties we are working diligently to correct those," he said later.
Sparks said he contacted Farra's attorney, Charleston lawyer Michael Callaghan, and told him he would recommend Farra's reinstatement and that he receive back pay from his termination date to reinstatement.
Attempts to contact Callaghan were unsuccessful.
Sparks recognized that Mingo County had a problem with corrupted officials.
"We're doing our best," Sparks said. "There are things we're doing already to reform down in this area.
"All officials shouldn't be placed in the same lump of clay. There are honest, hard working Mingo County officials that have the spirit of public service."
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.