Now that the trees are gone and the damage is done, Dailey asked what the parks board could do about what she referred to as the theft of county property. Bailey said the parks commission certainly has grounds to sue Bowen, but wants to wait and see if the contractor does a satisfactory job repairing the damage before deciding on further action.
Jones said forestry officials are requiring Bowen to reseed every bit of soil he disturbed in Coonskin Park and to return the hillsides to as close as possible to their original contour before giving him his timbering license back. Because the logging took place in a public park, he said forestry officials are making Bowen do more than if he had logged on private land.
Records on file in the Secretary of State's office show that Russell Trucking LLC, Bowen's company, had its state business license revoked in December 2012. State and county tax records also indicate Bowen owes $89,000 in Workers' Compensation and $23,000 in tax liens.
Parks officials didn't know about the revoked license and unpaid Workers' Compensation at the time they made the agreement with Bowen. Bailey said they didn't think to look, because Bowen presented a valid timbering permit and certificates of insurance when he agreed to do the work at the park.
It is still unclear how the contractor was able to get a timbering permit with a revoked business license and insurance coverage with unpaid Workers' Compensation liens.
"There are systems in place, and sometimes they fail," Bailey said. "They failed here."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.