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Councilman fined in gambling case

 

CHESAPEAKE — The gambling case against two Chesapeake village councilmen has ended in a fine for one and charges dropped for the other.

Last week during a scheduled pretrial hearing in Lawrence County Municipal Court Paul Nathan Hart pleaded no contest to a gambling charge and received a $1,000 fine, plus court costs. There was no jail time or probation levied.

His father, Paul E. Hart, pleaded not guilty to a charge of operating a gambling house. The prosecutor’s office dropped the charges in the elder Hart’s case.

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

After two detectives from the sheriff’s office interviewed the woman, they went to the game room where Detective Aaron Bollinger reported that he saw “approximately 20 or more different gambling machines.”

Bollinger was 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 said.

Because 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.

Paul E. Hart has been a Chesapeake councilman for more than 20 years. His son was seeking his third term on council this past November, but was defeated. Paul Nathan Hart was appointed to council in January by Mayor Dick Gilpin to fill the unexpired term of Scott Taylor. Taylor, who was arrested in the spring of 2011 on a series of misdemeanor charges, was removed from council for missing the mandatory number of meetings.