But Carper criticized Hutchinson for not having the same contractor who cut the trees on the FEMA project do the rest of the work, and for not checking further into Russell Trucking's history. He said FEMA probably would have paid for at least some of the additional cleanup work.
Hutchinson said he didn't know if Bowen cut down trees that he wasn't authorized to take. Carper said county officials will send forestry experts into Coonskin to try to determine if any trees were taken without permission.
"The biggest problem is going to be that none of this is in writing," Carper said. The lack of a written contract will make it virtually impossible for the county to recoup any losses over poached lumber. Carper has also referred the matter to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.
Also Tuesday, Carper and county commissioners Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores heard a pitch from officials for Camp Virgil Tate to sell some of their timber to help finance a new swimming pool.
West Virginia University Extension Agent Kerri Wade, who is also a member of the Camp Virgil Tate board of directors, said officials don't want to clear-cut or randomly timber about 400 acres at the camp, but selectively cut trees on the property. Camp officials have been worried that the forest needs thinned out anyway for the health of the remaining trees.
Camp officials hope to get about $300,000 from the sale of the timber. The proposal must still go through public hearings, the Kanawha County Planning Commission and the County Commission.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.