A Paintsville man has pleaded guilty in connection with giving money to Mayor Robert Porter in order to get work from the city for businesses he once owned.
Eulas Crace pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to one count of paying an illegal gratuity to a public official. He faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Crace is the former owner of a construction company and a wrecker service. Between 2011 and 2013, he had his son, Chet Crace, write checks to Porter’s wife, Bonnie, on three occasions, according to a court document.
One purpose was because Porter would “use his authority to steer city business to the defendant’s family businesses,” according to Crace’s plea agreement.
Crace’s plea didn’t say how much he gave the Porters, but an indictment in the case said it was more than $18,000. The checks were disguised as loans, according to court documents.
Porter gave Crace city construction jobs and told city police to use Crace’s towing service unless drivers asked for a tow truck to be called from a different company.
Crace is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
He was indicted with Porter and Larry Herald, former head of the Paintsville utilities commission, who was charged with helping Porter avoid paying more than $7,000 in utility bills on properties he owned.
A federal jury convicted Porter of misappropriating city funds and taking bribes. The most serious charges have a top sentence of 10 years in prison.
Porter plans to resign in November, but his attorney has said he will appeal his conviction.
Herald pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years probation and a $5,000 fine.