Margaret Zaleski, a frequent park visitor and a former employee of a logging company in New York, brought the alleged logging operation to the attention of the Parks Commission at a meeting earlier this month.
County officials have since discovered that Bowen apparently had more than $89,000 in state liens for unpaid workers' compensation coverage and more than $23,000 in liens for unpaid timber severance taxes.
The Secretary of State's Office revoked Russell Trucking's business license in December 2012. Jake Glance, spokesman for Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, said Bowen should not have engaged in any new business after the license was revoked.
Bailey said parks officials were unaware of problems with the company because Bowen presented a valid state forestry permit and proof of insurance coverage when he agreed to do the job. Bailey doesn't know how the contractor was able to get a forestry permit and insurance certificate if his business license had been revoked and he had liens against him for unpaid workers' compensation.
He said parks officials probably will conduct more homework in the future before hiring contractors.
A review of state records shows that Bowen has headed a number of companies over the years. From 1991 to 1994, he ran a company called Ruka Trucking Co. Inc., but that company was dissolved by court order. He then ran Big Stick Lumber Co. from 1999 to 2003, but that company also was dissolved.
Bowen incorporated Bowen/Klein Inc. in 2005, but the state revoked the company's business license in 2007. Russell Trucking LLC formed in 2007.
Bowen most recently started Bo-Ru LLC, which incorporated July 1.
Even though there was no written contract between parks officials and Bowen, Bailey said, the Parks Commission still can sue the contractor if he broke the agreement.
"You can have an oral contract," Bailey said. "It's a classic legal issue. I'm not worried about winning a lawsuit against the man."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.