Video poker operator: Bribes given to sheriffs

In this morning’s ongoing corruption trial of former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford, a salesman for a confessed illegal video-poker operator said that he repeatedly gave bribes — sometimes as much as $3,000 — to Medford, along with legal donations to the Clerk of Court and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. The company also bribed the Haywood County Sheriff, he testified.

Jerry Pennington, a salesman for Henderson Amusements, whose owners (along with Pennington), have confessed to running an illegal-gambling operation and bribing public officials as part of their video-poker business, told jurors today that he had given envelopes filled with cash.

He said that after a meeting in Medford’s car in the parking lot of Tripp’s Restaurant in downtown Asheville, he’d been informed “that I needed to deal directly with him from now on,” instead of giving Medford bribes through former reserve Capt. Guy Penland (also on trial). Pennington — pausing occasionally to ask for more water for his cracking voice — detailed that he’d drop by Medford’s office every 2-3 months to hand over $2,000 to $3,000 in cash in sealed envelopes. He even gave Christmas “bonuses” to Medford, Penland and other deputies.

“We’d never talk about money, always about something else,” Pennington said. “I’d just hand the envelope over and he’d put it away.”

The most response he ever got from Medford, he said, was a curt “thank you,” but never in a circumstance where it would seem out of place in the rest of the conversation.

“Our business in Buncombe was doing well — we wanted to keep that going,” he said.

He also said he made smaller bribes to Penland, along with former Lts. Johnny Harrison and Ronnie “Butch” Davis (who have both taken plea deals, Harrison testified last week). He continued to give money to Penland after he stopped working with the sheriff’s office as a volunteer.

“He was like my best friend,” Pennington said of Penland. “He wasn’t getting paid a salary at the department, so we started paying him.”

That pay included $450 a week, reimbursement for gas and $500 for every store owner that Penland convinced to take the company’s machines. All this happened allegedly at a time when Penland (along with Harrison and later Davis) was responsible for registering the county’s video-poker machines.

But the company’s largesse didn’t end there. It also included legal donations, including $1,000 to Buncombe County Commissioners and $400 for a spot in Clerk of Court Bob Christy‘s golf tournament fundraiser. Pennington said the commissioner donations were “for raffle tickets or something.” He didn’t specify when the donations took place, but said that neither they or the clerk of court golf spot were related to video poker.

Bribes were also paid to the Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander, Pennington testified, in the amount of $100 per machine a month, totaling up to around $3,300. Alexander has not been indicted or charged with any crime at this time.

Pennington reviewed financial records for the court that referred to each payee in code: “G” or “Judge” for Penland, “J” for Harrison — and a series of the letter “X” for Medford.

Medford and Penland were both carefully reviewing the records with their attorneys as Pennington spoke.

The prosecution’s questioning will resume in the federal courthouse after the lunch recess.

— David Forbes, staff writer


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3 thoughts on “Video poker operator: Bribes given to sheriffs


    I’m sorry to hear about Sheriff Alexander, who has had a long distinguished career and is a fine man

    The Current pathetic excuse for a Sheriff, in Buncombe County, a.k.a “The coward of the county” couldn’t not hold a candle to Sheriff Alexander; I hope Sheriff Alexander is vindicated.

    One could only hope that the hot spot light of this investigation, now focuses on the subterranean insect,Bar card carrying,double agent, who holds dual offices (a violation of North Carolina Constitution Article 6 section 9) known as the Clerk of Court.

    The Buncombe County Court House is a den of thieves, run by the private fraternity known as the Bar, I.E. British Accreditation Registry.

    Attorneys are the modern day Pharisees,they have enslaved the moronic U.S. population, by creating the law into an elite closed shop,converting mindless sheepole,into corporations,whom they can monetize and destroy with unilateral contracts, while negotiating plea bargains in a FORM OF LAW CALLED ADMIRALITY.

    The tragedy is, that imbecilic U.S.citizens, continue to hire and contract these thieves to RE-PRE- SENT them as legal fictions WITH ALL CAPS NAMES, instead of reading and understanding the law and becoming competent in their own legal affairs. They are too busy watching American idol or listening to the oxycotin popping CFR plant Lush Dimbo, to read the law, let alone understand it. They pull voting levers for attorney canidates who are either D’s or R’s, thinking that their puney little token vote, something or someone can change their mundane little slave lives, they cant get the concept,that lawyers are at the root cause of all evil and suffering!

    Attorneys are corporate agents, who, according to the corpus Juris Secondum, vol 7 pages 801 and 802, can only represent corporations and idiots, that pretty well sums up the U.S population. Most Attorneys are politicians and vice versa, when will the stupid U.S.population ever learn?

    The founding fathers knew who and what attorneys were and penned the original 13th amendment, which forbade attorneys from holding office.

    Most U.S.sheep people have never even heard of the original 13th amendment, let alone the Bill of rights. For those that still have a mind that hasn’t been damaged by fluoride and mercury vaccines, click this link to find out about the original 13 th amendment.STOP HIRING ATTORNEYS THE LAW BELONGS TO YOU NOT THEM

  2. Zora

    Government at every level must be streamlined
    and reduced in size; each department scrutinized
    as to the needs it appears to serve. Elected
    public officials must be servants, willing servants, of the people throughout the community.
    They were never intended to serve special entities. Many public officials succomb to feelings of arogance and overstated personal
    worth. Public servants need to be careful in staying away from the mere appearance of impropriety. They are in the role model business.

    I want to know exactly what those $1000.00 donations to each county commissioner &
    commission chair were used for. Tell us about the raffle tickets and were the donors of said
    money entered into the raffle with the potential of winning something. Hey, give us some answers
    here. AND Bob Christy! If it is something
    useful, hey, let us hear about it.

    While we are on the subject of county government, I do not like the idea of different members of the same family being employed. This happens all the time. A husband here and the wife somewhere else within the same system.

    We must clean up county government. We must have elected officials that care about all the people.

    And also important, publish on the county webbsite the tax base increase from each year to the next for the last twelve years in Buncombe County; the property tax receipts from each year for the same period. ALSO, IF THE PROPERTY TAX RATE FOR OUR HOME AND LANDOWNERS HAD BEEN NEUTRALIZED in accordance with the enormous increases in tax base in our area {$100 + millions each year) how much would our taxpayers have been able to keep and invest in savings and in our economy. Publish the budget on the Webbsite. Property taxes in Buncombe must be
    reduced. This is the year of the property tax
    and property rights revolution. Let us see who
    is listening.

    The county commissioner who broke his word on
    ZONING is out and will have to decide now which
    direction to go in other than public———–
    S E R V I C E!

    Democrat or Republican, corruption must be uncovered and justice rendered.


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