Alleged extortioner points finger at Maloney campaign
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By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog
CHARLESTON — A man arrested by the FBI in an extortion plot said the Maloney campaign wanted his information, according to a warrant and emails.
Harry Marshall Rae, of 4195 East Parson Point Road, Hernando, Florida, was arrested Thursday by the FBI for sending a threat to Senate President and Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin through the state website, and attempting to extort money from a greyhound owner in Wheeling.
Rae, a former member of the National Greyhound Association, threatened to turn over videos to the media, the Maloney campaign, and Carey Theil, the executive director of Grey2K, of greyhound dogs being mistreated at an Oklahoma kennel. He also attempted to extort $50,000 from Dean Miner, a greyhound breeder from Wheeling, W.Va., using the same threat.
“I think you elections down the tubes[sic],” Rae wrote to Tomblin. “Running out of time before I (turn) this over to your rival.”
Rae sent the Tomblin threat through the comment section on the Acting Governor’s official website. Miner was contacted by Rae through email. Both the FBI and the State Police were involved in the 12-day operation which culminated in Rae’s arrest. Rae made a similar threat to NGA President Gary Guiccione in 2010, asking for $22,000 in return for not publishing videos of greyhound abuse.
Rae was arrested for intent to extort under U.S.C 18 Section 875(d), which covers interstate communications. If convicted, Rae could be fined and face as much as two years in prison.
According to an email exchange between Rae and Miner dated Sept. 22, Rae claims that he received an $100,000 offer for the videos and a two-year consulting contract from someone in West Virginia. Rae also said he received requests for the videos from the Maloney campaign’s “chief of staff.” Rae also says a Maloney representative was flying to California to meet Rae on Sept. 24, though told Miner that he would stall the rep if he had a deposit by Miner.
Theil runs Grey2K, an organization dedicated to protecting greyhounds, calling greyhound racing “cruel and inhumane.” Theil also tried to get Rae’s videos, telling Rae that Grey2K was “working on a special project.”
“Part of this project involves researching the greyhound racing industry, and no one knows the industry better than you do,” Theil wrote.
“GREY2K USA asked Mr. Rae to speak with a private investigator and former federal law enforcement officer named Greg, who is working on a long-term research project aimed at uncovering greyhound cruelty,” Theil said on his blog. “This investigator has no relationship to the upcoming election in West Virginia.”
In a press release, the Tomblin campaign asked the Maloney campaign to explain Rae’s emails and disclose if they offered Rae a deal for the video. They’re asking the Maloney campaign to turn over communications to and from Rae, Thiel, and disclose any telephone conversations with Rae and Thiel. The Maloney campaign said they don’t know Rae.
“Nobody from our campaign has ever had any contact with the individuals named in this case,” said Michelle Yi, spokesperson for the Maloney campaign. “The men and women of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are to be commended for their swift action against this extortion plot involving the Governor and for bringing this individual to justice.”
Tomblin, the Democratic candidate in the Oct. 4 special election for governor, comes from a family that operates a greyhound breeding business. Businessman Bill Maloney, the Republican nominee, has used TV ads and direct mail pieces trying to pin Tomblin to his family’s greyhound breeding business, which has received over $4 million from the state Greyhound Breeders Development Fund. The state subsidizes greyhound breeders by paying them on how well their dogs do at the state’s tracks. The subsidy is funded by racetrack video lottery, and Tomblin has voted to increase the subsidies over the years.
“It is incredibly troubling that Bill Maloney and his campaign are implicated in an extortion plot,” said Lis Smith, spokesperson for the DGA. “Now we know why Bill Maloney has spent millions of dollars trying to smear Governor Tomblin: he has nothing positive to say about himself because he lacks the judgment and ethics to serve in ANY leadership capacity.”
Posted under Elections, Ethics, Featured, Federal, Governor, News, Politics, West Virginia.
Tags: Acting Governor, Bill Maloney, Earl Ray Tomblin, FBI, Grey2K, Harry Marshall Rae, Maloney, National Greyhound Association, Republican, Tomblin, United States, West Virginia
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