WESTERN UNION – A public reprimand was filed last month by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry against a former Doddridge County magistrate, saying he âImproperly solicited donations for a charity in violation of the Code of Judicial Conductâ.
Micheal Headley, 51, 103 Piggin Run Road, West Union, started a Magical Christmas charity while he was Doddridge County Sheriff in 2015, according to the warning.
In a response to the judicial disciplinary board, Headley said the department used the concealed pistol account to deposit donations, according to the warning.
Headley said he had not run Magical Christmas since 2015 and said the only way he was involved was to deliver the gifts to local children, according to the warning.
Upon recommendation from the state’s auditor’s office, a separate account was opened for Christmas Magic donations and two signatures were required for all checks, according to the warning.
During the 2020 holiday season, Magical Christmas was advertised four times in the local newspaper while Headley was the newly elected magistrate, according to the warning.
The ad called for donations to be mailed to the sheriff’s department or delivered in person. In a written statement included in the warning, Headley said he had never broadcast the ad and had no knowledge of it.
The owner of the local newspaper “Does not support Mr. Headley’s assertion that he was not aware of the advertisements”, said the warning.
While the complaint was pending, the Board of Inquiry learned of another case involving Headley and his assistant Angela Lamb.
On November 3, Headley was informed that if he did not resign that day, a complaint would be filed requesting his suspension without pay; the warning says he resigned that day.
Members of the inquiry committee voted 8-0, saying the case had probable cause, according to the warning. He said Headley “Had a duty to refrain from soliciting money on behalf of an organization”, said the warning.
In the warning, the commission said Headley “Should not have served as a signatory on the bank account so soon to take office as magistrate.” Additionally, the haphazard management of the account itself over the years calls into question the integrity of the man behind the charity itself.
The commission said in the warning that Headley must be disciplined.
Headley and Lamb will appear before Harrison County Magistrate Mark Gorby on Thursday in reference to the forgery of accounts and the fraudulent use of county purchasing card fees. It is not clear whether the charges relate to the information in the warning.