W.Va. contractor charged after fight with councilman

July 11, 2002|by TARA REILLY

An unlicensed contractor from Berkeley Springs, W.Va., hired by the Hancock Town Council to perform work on the town's water plant was charged June 27 with threatening a councilman and making a false report to police after a May 30 argument.

According to charging documents, Victor Wyn Dill, 52, approached Councilman Darwin Mills, who was sitting in his parked car in the 100 block of West Main Street in Hancock.

Dill began discussing the contract he had with the town, and Mills told him he didn't want to talk about it, which sparked a heated argument, charging documents state.


Mills told the Hancock Police Department that Dill then cursed at him and threatened to smash his head, according to the documents.

After Mills reported the incident to police, Dill told the police that Mills pulled out a handgun and threatened him by saying, "Come on big boy, take your best shot," documents state.

Dill then filed an assault report to police that Mills used the handgun.

Witness Leo Michaels of Hancock, however, told police that he was sitting in the car next to Mills and that Mills never pulled out a gun and that he never saw a handgun, the documents state.

A polygraph test was set up for Dill on June 18, but Dill never showed up, charging documents state.

The charging documents were not released until Wednesday, when Dill was served. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 8:30 a.m. in Washington County District Court.

Lisa Steele, a records and licenses employee at Washington County Circuit Court, said Wednesday that Dill's construction license expired on April 30, 2001.

She said he currently owes a 30 percent fine of the cost of the license for 2001 and a 12 percent fine for 2002.

Steele said the 2002 fine will accrue for every month that he doesn't pay.

Mills said Wednesday the contract that started the argument dates back to Feb. 25, when the Hancock Town Council agreed to have Dill perform work on the town's water plant.

Town officials said they were not aware that Dill wasn't licensed when they approved the contract.

Mills said some council members were concerned that Dill didn't carry out the terms of the contract and discussed Dill's work at a past council meeting.

According to the contract, Dill was supposed to remove and haul away all piping from the water plant, fill in holes with gravel and fill in the tank ground with shale for $4,000.

Mills claims the work was never completed, while Mayor Daniel Murphy and Town Manager Lou Close said town officials read the contract incorrectly.

"It was an honest mistake," Murphy said.

Mills, however, said the council didn't make a mistake when reading the contract and that Dill didn't finish the work.

Close said there were two parts to the contract, the first part costing $4,000 and the second part costing $8,000.

Close said the town thought the entire project would cost $8,000, when it was supposed to cost $12,000.

"The Mayor and council failed to catch that," Close said. "We thought the total project was $8,000."

Close said the first part was completed but the second part has not been finished.

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