The U.S. Attorney’s Office in western Kentucky has announced an indictment for a senior official of Armstrong Coal.
US Attorney Russell Colemans said Glendal “Buddy” Hardison was indicted for defrauding MSHA by deocr, trickery, and dishonest means.
This indictment comes after eight other Armstrong Coal officials were indicted last summer for deceiving federal regulators at mines in Muhlenberg and Ohio counties.
Hardison was the former manager of all Armstrong Coal western Kentucky mines. He is accused of meeting with co-Defendant Ron Ivy and an unindicted co-conspirator in 2013, and ordered them to do whatever they had to do to “make the pumps come in”.
The Grand Jury says Armstrong officials removed dust testing devices early in the mines’ shifts and placed the devices in less dusty or “clean air”.
The Grand Jury also claims officials replaced miners who ran the most dust-causing machines with miners who were not wearing the dust testing devices, so the company would pass the tests.
To see the complete indictment, click here.
“It triggers a lot of anger because you’re looking at individuals that made business decisions, looked at the cost benefit and made business decisions that exposed miners to risk,” Coleman said, during a press conference this afternoon in Madisonville.
Meanwhile, former Armstrong Coal miner Michael Wilson says he expects more indictments in the future against more former company officials.
“I wasn’t surprised.,” he said. “Because he’s one of the high up persons involved in this and everybody knew he was.”
Coleman also says the trial for the other eight former Armstrong coal employees who were indicted is still scheduled to go trial in mid-July.
(This story was originally published on February 27, 2019)