MORRISTOWN - Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland has posted bond after being arrested Friday at Jamboree In The Hills, officials said Saturday.
Belmont County Sheriff Fred Thompson, who was at the music festival Saturday, said Coffland's bond was at least $5,000, though he was unsure of the exact amount. Coffland faces charges of assault against a police officer and disorderly conduct following his Friday arrest by Ohio Division of Liquor Control agents while he attended Jamboree In The Hills.
Thompson declined to disclose the circumstances surrounding Coffland's JITH arrest.
But he noted it was not related to separate charges against Coffland and his son, Matthew B. Coffland, who each face three charges brought by the liquor control agents based on incidents at his Tiger Pub bar in Shadyside last spring.
Coffland could not be reached for comment at press time Saturday.
On Friday, however, Coffland said liquor control agents entered his Tiger Pub just before 2 a.m. April 1. He approached them and learned they were from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. He then announced to patrons who were still in the bar that agents were on the premises and that he was closing early.
''I decided we're done, we're closing in 20 minutes anyway,'' Coffland said. ''I told the people there were agents there, we were closing early and to please exit. The agents then asked me, 'Why did you do that?' I told them it was time, we were closing up and going home.''
Coffland said the agents informed him he had ''placed them in jeopardy.''
''If announcing they were in the building was wrong, I was wrong,'' Coffland said. ''I didn't know of any law stopping me from saying they were there.''
The time on the agents' report states the incident happened at 1:48 a.m., which is about 2 a.m. ''in bar time,'' according to Coffland. Clocks in the bar are set 10 minutes faster so that the bar closes well before the legally designated time of 2:30 a.m. Coffland said he serves the last drink in the bar at 2:10 a.m. ''bar time,'' and asks that patrons leave within the next 10 minutes.
The Belmont County Prosecutor 's Office has recused itself from the case since the elder Coffland is a county commissioner. Attorney Thomas Hampton has been named special prosecutor. The matter still will be heard in Belmont County Eastern Division Court, where Judge John Vavra also has recused himself. A Monroe County judge will be called in to hear the case, according to Hampton, who confirmed the charges. Hampton said he could not discuss further facts in the case.
In the Tiger Pub matter, the Cofflands are set to appear in court for a pretrial conference at 10 a.m. July 31. Coffland said it actually is unusual for him to work at the bar, and he instead delegates duties there to other family members.
Coffland, a Democrat, is up for re-election in November and faces a challenge from two Independent candidates - Jerry Echemann and Doug Longenette. There is no Republican candidate in the race.