Paintsville mayor convicted in federal corruption case

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Paintsville Mayor Robert Porter on charges of misappropriating city funds and bribery, according to U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.

The charges against Porter included using taxpayer money for personal expenses, driving a city-owned vehicle for personal use, running up more than $7,000 in unpaid utility bills and taking payoffs disguised as loans from a vendor.

Larry Herald, former manager of the city utilities service, was charged with helping Porter avoid paying for service between 2009 and mid-2012 by keeping shutdown orders from being executed.

Eulas Crace, who owns a towing service and construction company, allegedly paid Porter to get work with the city.

Herald pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves sentenced him to serve two years on probation and pay a fine of $5,000.

Crace has not been tried.

Porter denied the charges, but jurors convicted him at the end of a four-day trial.

“We certainly respect the jury’s verdict,” said Porter’s attorney Mark Wohlander.

The most serious charges against Porter have a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Reeves scheduled Porter’s sentencing in January.