mayor in Pickaway County is facing criminal charges after he intimidated a man
who saw him illegally dumping.
Commercial Point, OH – The mayor of
the village of Commercial Point is facing a slew of charges after he threatened
and intimidated a man who reported him for illegally using a commercial
An employee of Westport Homes, a
housing development construction company, witnessed Commercial Point Mayor Gary
Joiner illegally filling a trash dumpster at the Chestnut Commons construction
site on July 9, the Columbus
Baker told police that he confronted Joiner and told him he could not put his
refuse in the Westport Homes dumpsters.
“Do you know who the f--k I am?”
Baker said the mayor asked him.
Then the mayor told Baker that he was
“messing with the wrong guy,” according to the complaint filed in Circleville
In the complaint, Baker said that
when he told Joiner that the dumpsters were not for public use, the mayor told
Baker he could do whatever he wanted and that he would stop the building on Westport’s
projects, according to the statement Baker wrote for the court.
The employee contacted the police and
filed a complaint, but when the mayor found out, he took a police officer and a
village employee over to Baker’s place of business and questioned him, court
documents said, according to the Scioto Post.
The officer interviewed Baker with
everybody in the room and asked questions that had been prepared in advance by
Joiner, the Scioto Post reported.
Afraid he would lose his job if he
pursued the complaint against the mayor, Baker tried to deny his original
Later, the police went back and
interviewed him without the mayor’s entourage, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Commercial Point Police Sergeant John
Murphy conducted the second interview alone with the witness and the narrative
“The victim stated that he was
intimidated by the Mayor, that he knew his employer and felt that he had to lie
in order to prevent him from losing his job,” Sgt. Murphy wrote in the charging
documents filed with the court.
“[He said] that the interview
conducted the day before made him scared of the Mayor. He stated that he lied
when telling the officer it was not the Mayor and that he only did it in fear,”
the sergeant wrote.
Commercial Point Police Chief Adam
Jordan said he wasn’t thrilled to be in a position to arrest his de facto boss,
the mayor of Commercial Point.
“It’s a position I do not want to be
in,” Chief Jordan told WCMH. “I hate it. Nobody wants to be put into this type
of position, no matter what their job is because the mayor is ultimately my
supervisor, however, I do have a job to do and there’s no title of a person
that’s going to stop me from doing my job.”
In the police report, the Commercial
Point Police Department said it notified the Ohio Bureau of Criminal
Investigation, the Ohio Attorney General's office, and the Pickaway County
Sheriff's Office and asked for help with the investigation.
Thursday, Joiner appeared in Circleville Municipal Court where he was charged
with two counts of obstruction of official business, littering – unauthorized
use of a litter receptacle, criminal trespass, coercion, and two counts of
intimidation, the Scioto Post reported.
Intimidation is a third-degree felony
that carries a maximum of 36 months in jail or a $10,000 fine, according to the
In an interview as he was led to a
police car in handcuffs, the mayor told WCMH he had no intention of resigning
Village Solicitor Mike Hess said he
would have to research how the arrest might affect Joiner maintaining his
position as mayor.
Joiner was the second mayor to be
charged in Pickaway County in less than two weeks.
After he served the mayor, Sgt. Mick
served New Holland Interim Police Chief David Conrad in his office with a court
summons for the charges against him, and was fired on the spot, the Columbus
Betzko filed a motion to waive his
appearance on Aug. 1, and has a pre-trial hearing set for the following week.
Conrad, who has been suspended from
his interim police chief position, waived his hearing and the charges have been
sent to Pickaway County Prosecutor Judy Wolford to seek an indictment.