Grand Jury Report:
State and Federal Agency Officials
Extorted Money from Mining Firm
Elko Daily Free Press
|The Elko County Grand Jury charged Thursday that four state and two federal officials involved in a mining company's expansion had committed the crime of "oppression under color of office," but the statute of limitations on the offenses has expired.|
District Attorney Gary Woodbury informed Elko District
Judge Mike Memeo about the two-year limitation on the
crimes, which last occurred in July 1994.
The grand jury report, formally called a presentment, says Nevada Division of Wildlife Director Willie Molini and fellow NDOW employees Duane Erikson, Larry Barngrover and Kenneth Grey, along with U.S. Forest Service employees Ben Siminoe and John Inman committed crimes by forcing the Independence Mining Co. to pay $500,000 toward mule deer habitat as a condition of acquiring permits to expand its mining operation on forest service land.
The report said the officials, "willfully, unlawfully, and maliciously... injured the person, property or rights of another."
"NDOW and USFS had essentially absolute control over IMC's financial well- being," the grand jury report says. "The grand jury recognizes that disparate bargaining positions often exist between contracting parties, but suggests that when one of those parties is a governmental agency or has governmental powers, that disparity can be disastrously out of proportion."
Brent Chamberlain, IMC's human
resources manager, said
he could not comment on the report because IMC was not a
part of the grand jury process.
and Placer Dome U.S.
also testified they had been involved with wildlife
mitigation before, but only with the U.S. Bureau of Land
Management, which never allowed NDOW to dictate terms.
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