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D A: Gates not under investigation
York says no extortion charges pending
Craig Gates w L
GATES
According to the District Attorney General's Office, an investigation into extortion charges against DTC CEO Craig Gates is not being pursued.While a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by two former employees of DTC claims that charges are “being explored,” District Attorney General Randy York told the Review Friday that he had looked into the matter, and found no cause to file criminal charges.York, the Attorney General for the 13th Judicial District, said that he had received information from attorneys involved in the suit.“An attorney for one of the plaintiff's brought in some material concerning the case and asked that we open an investigation. I reviewed the material and did not find a violation of our criminal statutes and did not authorize an investigation,” York said.James A Vaden of Carthage and Kevin C. Young of Smithville, the two former employees of the co-op, filed a lawsuit in federal court against DTC and Gates in November claiming they were the victims in a plan to get rid of highly-paid employees.The suit also stated that the two felt that they were the victims of extortion and wrongful termination.The filing also accuses DTC and Gates of wrongfully interfering with their employee benefits and improperly denying them their severance benefits.Included in the suit is a passage that states that, “As of the date of filing this complaint, investigators in the 13th and 15th Judicial districts are exploring criminal charges of extortion against Gates based on his actions leading up to Vaden's and Young's termination, focusing in particular on the specifics of the Agreement of Suspension.”York said that neither defendant in the suit is under investigation for extortion, and that his office would have jurisdiction in the matter, as the alleged events took place in DeKalb County.Gates and DTC have filed an answer to the suit denying the allegations made by Vaden and Young.In their answer, DTC and Gates deny the allegations.“After a careful and thorough investigation into the particularized facts, the defendants, DTC and Gates formed an honest belief that a group of employees, including Vaden and Young, participated in a scheme to sell copper cable owned by the company for their own benefit. Defendants, DTC and Gates deny that there is any basis whatsoever for individual liability as to Gates.