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July 23, 2008

County spends nearly $3,000 on lawyer

To see if Tennant can run in district

FAIRMONT — Former Fairmont City Councilman Burley “Butch” Tennant has thrown his hat in the ring, declaring his intentions to run for an open seat on the Marion County Commission.

And the commission has spent almost $3,000 to date to see whether it was legal for his hat to be there. The commission recently employed an attorney to investigate the residency issues of a candidate running against incumbent and Commission President Alan Parks.

Tennant, a Democrat, currently owns a home in the Palatine District. The seat he is seeking is for Middletown — the make-up of the commission requires one commissioner from each of the county’s three magisterial districts, Palatine, Middletown and West Augusta. The open seat represents the Middletown District, which is currently represented by Parks.

Tennant beat out seven other Democrats on the May 14 primary ticket. Parks, one of two Republicans on the commission, is seeking re-election for the seat in the Nov. 4 general election.

Tennant’s home has been purchased by developers for the Volcano Island Resort and Waterpark, and he will soon be moving to a new residence in Middletown.

The commissioners obtained the services of Fairmont attorney Jeffrey W. Lilly of the law firm Rose Padden & Petty to investigate whether or not it was legal for Tennant to run first in the primary election and then in the general election. The county commission was billed on two separate occasions for these services, Feb. 26 and June 30, with the bills totaling $2,595.25 paid for from the county’s general fund. The invoices indicate the charges are for professional services Jan. 29 through Feb. 1 — just after the filing period for the primary election ended — and May 14 through June 23 — after Tennant won the primary election.

The invoices were acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Times West Virginian on July 8.

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