By: Ron Gregory For The Logan Banner
September 6, 2013
CHARLESTON – Four men charged in a Logan arson fraud case will remain in jail after arraignments were held Friday in Federal Magistrate Court. In hearings that covered more than four hours, Federal Magistrate Judge Dwain Tinsley ordered Gregory Glick, Guy Miller, Shawn Simon and Jamey Thompson to remain in Federal custody until their trials later this year.
The four are primarily charged with arson and insurance fraud in the alleged torching of a downtown Logan building. The building’s owner, Glick, is alleged to have schemed to obtain an inflated insurance policy on the building and then have it burned down. Thompson allegedly wrote what he knew was a fraudulent insurance policy and claim while the other two defendants were participants in the actual burning.
After recessing for a brief break at about 12:20 p.m., Tinsley appeared back on the bench to announce that he was immediately ruling that Simon and Miller would remain incarcerated. He proceeded to take further testimony regarding Glick, a former Logan City Councilman and Thompson, an insurance agent.
Glick, represented by Charleston lawyer Jim Cagle, entered a not guilty plea related to his role in the fire across from the 317 Steakhouse, which he manages on Stratton Street.
Government arguments to detain the four focused on alleged threats and monetary payoffs made since an investigation into the February 2012 fire began.
At the beginning of the hearings at about 10:30 a.m., Cagle objected to certain aspects of a report concerning Glick’s record and other factors in his life. For example, Cagle said the report listed Glick as owner of the former Mackadoo’s Restaurant, when it was actually owned by his mother. Also, the Charleston attorney said, Glick was listed as owning Ballard and Associates. Cagle said that firm is actually the accountant for Glick and the business is owned by his mother. Cagle went on to say “many things included in the report are simply not true, according to my client, and we will address those with the court.” Cagle did point out that a previous charge against Glick was “expunged from the record, according to my client.”
Tim Carrico, the Charleston lawyer representing Thompson, presented a brief statement, declaring that his client was not a threat to the community in any way. The other two attorneys made similar arguments regarding their clients.
Cagle, arguing fervently for his client’s release on bond, told Tinsley the courtroom was crowded, in part, because “many people in Logan love Greg Glick; feel he is a pillar of the community; and are concerned about peoples’ employment and athletic support if he is made to stay in jail.”
Then Cagle presented five witnesses, although he said many more in the courtroom were present to testify if Tinsley so desired. The first witness was Amy Biers, followed by Carl Runyon, Amanda Lea Pridemore, Terry Pratt and Michael Burgess.
Basically, all of these were character witnesses for Glick, who testified to his honesty, integrity and public spirit. All described Glick as someone they trusted and believed he is no threat to flee to avoid prosecution or cause harm to anybody.
Cagle asked another eight members of the audience to stand and be identified as willing to testify on Glick’s behalf. The attorney told Tinsley, “there are many more in the courtroom prepared to do the same thing.”
Carrico, on behalf of Thompson, who allegedly wrote the inflated insurance policy on the building in question, called two witnesses on his behalf. The other two men presented one character witness each. Basically, the message was the same: the men are no threat to flee and would not intimidate or threaten witnesses or others.
The government then made its presentation mostly in the form of videotapes and the testimony of an IRS agent involved in the investigation. During the course of the testimony, it was revealed that Mike and Jamille Allie have cooperated with the government and taped conversations and phone calls during which it is alleged Glick and Thompson did, in fact, make threats concerning witnesses. The tapes also allegedly prove that Glick paid “hush money” to Miller to keep him quiet about the law-breaking.
The tapes were often inaudible in the crowded room but it was clear most were laced with profanity and at least the appearance of threats toward potential witnesses.
After the agent’s testimony, which Cagle also vigorously challenged, the government presented Doug Killen, an alleged friend of Thompson. Killen, who described himself as a coal truck driver, said he had not gone to law enforcement concerning discussions he had with Thompson. “But they called me in,” he said.
Killen described his relationship with Thompson as positive and said the pair often play poker with former State Trooper P.D. Clemmons at the home of Billy Ray Chafin. He described, in response to government questions, the Chafin home as being a place where members of law enforcement “gather to play cards.”
As the story broke that Thompson was under investigation, Killen said they had a conversation “either at the agency or at the ball field,” where Thompson asked him to take a message to Clemmons. In it, he said Thompson simply said, “I’d like to meet up with P.D. somewhere.” Killen said he told Clemmons of the conversation.
Later, on Tuesday before Thompson was indicted on Wednesday, Killen said he and Thompson inadvertently met at the traffic light in front of the Burger King/Exxon between Chapmanville and Logan. At that time, he said Thompson told him to give Clemmons the message, “Tell your f—-ing buddy,” Thompson allegedly said, in reference to Clemmons, “if I catch him out, I’m going to whip his a—.”
Before leaving the intersection, Killen alleged Thompson told him not to return to the Chafin home.
“He said I shouldn’t be there ‘cause the place might just catch on fire,” said Killen.
Although Cagle attacked Killen’s credibility and asked if the witness actually thought Thompson would carry out the threats (to which he replied he did not), the testimony had a clear impact on the judge.
After hearing from the witnesses and reviewing the tapes, Tinsley said he felt there was no compelling evidence that Thompson and Glick were eligible to go free. Therefore, he also ordered that the pair remain in jail until their October trial dates.
Several in the courtroom were shedding tears as Federal Marshals led the four from the courtroom. A misty-eyed man waved “good-bye” to Glick and several women shouted, “Don’t get down, Greg,” with others making the same comments to Thompson.
Further developments will be reported as they occur.
— Ron Gregory may be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org