Chesapeake councilmen case continued

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 25, 2011

CHESAPEAKE — The gambling case against two Chesapeake village councilmen has been continued to the New Year.

Paul E. Hart and his son, Paul Nathan Hart, were to have appeared in Lawrence County Municipal Court Friday morning for a pre-trial hearing. However a court bailiff said the hearing has been postponed until Jan. 6.

Neither man nor their attorney, Mike Gleichauf, appeared in the courtroom.

Email newsletter signup

The elder Hart, who has been on the Chesapeake council for approximately 20 years, is charged with operating a gambling house. His son, who will go off council at the end of this month, is facing a gambling charge. Paul Nathan Hart had sought his third consecutive term on council in November, but was defeated.

The charges stem from an alleged gambling operation at Chip’s Game Room in South Point. Law enforcement authorities began investigating the alleged operation after a woman who said she was a patron of the gaming room filed a robbery charge against Paul Nathan Hart.

“According to (the woman) Paul (Nathan Hart) said she had been cheating his machines. … Paul demanded that she give him her money and he would not let her get her purse. … Paul then told her to leave the business after she gave him approximately $150 in cash,” according to a report filed by Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective Aaron Bollinger.

Bollinger and Detective Jason Newman interviewed the woman and then went to the game room where Bollinger reported he saw “approximately 20 or more different gambling machines.”

They also interviewed Paul Nathan Hart who told the detectives that another party was responsible for the game room and that he just receives a check for working on the gambling machines.

After those interviews Bollinger was contacted by the woman who was named by Paul Nathan Hart as the owner of the gaming room.

“According to (her), the business is in her name; however Paul (Nathan) Hart is the person who is responsible for the gambling business,” according to Bollinger’s report.

Bollinger was also contacted by Paul E. Hart, who told him that he knew his son was running a gambling operation, but “he was trying to stay out of it,” the detective reported.

As Paul E. Hart said he was aware that his son was operating a gambling facility and that the senior Hart owns the building where the gaming room was, the father was charged with operating a gambling house, according to Sheriff Jeff Lawless.

Both charges are first-degree misdemeanors and carry a penalty of up to six months in jail.

The game room has been shut down.