Coffland, Son Sentenced For Obstruction

Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland and his son each received a three-day suspended jail sentence, a $250 fine and one year of probation Tuesday in county Eastern Division Court.

In February, both Coffland his son, Matthew B. Coffland, were found guilty on one obstruction charge, stemming from an April 1, 2012, visit by Ohio liquor control agents to the Tiger Pub in Shadyside, which the Cofflands own and operate. The jury found the two innocent on two additional obstruction charges.

Special Prosecutor Tom Hampton also suggested community service as part of the Cofflands’ sentencing, but Judge James Peters didn’t include it as part of the overall penalty package. Peters noted, however, if either Coffland comes under scrutiny for any similar charges in the next year, jail time could come into play.

Commissioner Coffland took the opportunity to make a brief statement following his sentencing.

“As you know, I appeared before the liquor control board and the charge of hindrance was dropped against me,” Coffland said. “I want the record to reflect that … all the charges that followed were a result of that charge. It was the local (county) prosecutor that decided to bring the additional (obstruction) charges against me.”

Coffland noted he was cited for unsanitary conditions by the liquor control board because of water being in the bottom of his coolers, a problem he said was rectified.