A federal appeals panel has upheld the conviction of former Paintsville Mayor Robert Porter on three charges of misappropriating money and public resources.
Porter is serving a four-year sentence.
Eulas Crace, who owned a towing company, wrote checks totaling more than $18,000 to benefit Porter. Porter would steer city business to Crace’s company, according to court records.
Porter also was charged with not paying for more than $7,000 worth of city utility service to houses he owned in town, and with using taxpayer money for personal expenses such as gas and repairs for his personal vehicles.
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Porter became mayor in 2007 and resigned after he was convicted in 2016.
Porter appealed his conviction on several grounds, including arguments that the evidence against him was not sufficient and that U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves allowed jurors to hear evidence that should not have been admitted.
However, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, ruling that Reeves’ decisions were proper.
Porter, 71, is scheduled to be released from prison in September 2019.
Crace pleaded guilty to paying Porter an illegal gratuity. Reeves sentenced him to 18 months; he is scheduled to be released in June.
Larry Herald, former manager of the Paintsville utilities, was charged in the case with helping Porter avoid paying for service. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $5,000.