BECKLEY, W.Va. – Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh is serving out his last days in public office. He’s leaving the post after 25-years at the end of the year. It’s part of a deal reached with the West Virginia Ethics Commission.

Pugh was first appointed mayor in 1988 and has been a popular leader. However, he was accused of using his public office for private gain, accepting improper gifts, using his public office for his own private gain and private gain of others and prohibited interest in public contracts in 2012.

Pugh maintained his innocence.

“There is no admission of guilt because I do not think I have done anything wrong,” stressed Pugh. “If they want to push that then we’ll go to a hearing and let somebody else determine that.”

Earlier this year, Pugh reached to a settlement with the Ethics Commission. He is stepping down December 31 as mayor with two and a half years left in his term. He agreed to pay back $7,000 for the cost of the investigation and not run for public office for five years beginning January 1, 2014.

Pugh said after spending a lot of money in his own defense, it just wasn’t worth it anymore and the deal was the best option.

“I had no intention of running again in 2016. I had about two years left on my term,” he explained. “Would I have liked to have finished it up? Well, sure but those are the circumstances and that was the hand that you’re dealt.”

Despite leaving under a cloud of doubt, Pugh said he’s served the city honorably and has done a lot of good over the past two and a half decades.

“Hopefully when people look at what has happened in the city in the last 25 years, they can see some positive progress and I’ve left it better than when I found it,” according to Pugh.

As for his future, Pugh plans to enter the private sector in January and has no intention of running for office in the future.

Meanwhile, Beckley City Council will meet on January 2 to name an interim mayor to fill Pugh’s unexpired term.

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  • TCeer

    The mayor has been there too long. You know the old saying. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts, absolutely! Politicians are like diapers, they should be changed often and for the same reason.

    • cutty77

      I like that one about baby diapers. No truer words have been spoken.

  • Jethro

    The Beckley paper tried to make it look like Pugh was as innocent as a newborn and his disgrace was nothing.

  • Brian

    Dishonorable piece of crap. Typical and predictable statement from a politician. Admits no wrongdoing while stepping down amid controversy. Tries to play victim by talking about all the money he spent defending himself and the hand he was dealt garbage. He dealt himself that hand by being corrupt.

  • vashti

    it is my understanding that mayoral races are nonpartisan races. that may have something to do with not naming the party.
    have you ever seen a party affliation when you vote for city council or mayor on the ballot?

    • DWL

      The only elected positions in WV are school board members. All others are.

  • Dale

    Cedric Robertson for Mayor!!

  • Gigi

    Why is the party which the Mayor supposedly had an inappropriate relationship with not named? I suspect they were the ones with the most to gain - and they should be called out. It is the lobbyists and other private interests that are backing the politicians and causing them to abuse their offices.

  • DWL

    It never ceases to amaze me that these corrupt politicians and the complacent press fail to indicate the political affiliation of these corrupt people, especially when they are (D), Democrats, Liberals, Leftists, etc.. Nice to see the Mingo mentality is shared with the other blue areas of the state. Is the US Attorney (d) going to conduct an investigation into this also, or turn a blind eye? I love it when the corrupt beast devours its own.

    • BH

      Of course, no Republican politician has ever done anything unethical or corrupt.

    • Jason412

      Typing 10 letters into Google revealed to me that he's a Democrat.

      • Mountain Man

        Where is the rest of the story? What ethics and/or contract violations occurred? If there is a lot of smoke, there is fire. Mr. Pugh said he did nothing wrong........rightttttttttt....politicians never admit their guilt or wrongdoing even when they are obviously caught with their pants, down. It's ok Mr. Pugh, handshakes and back rubs are part of WV politics. Most of our state politicians circle the wagons and prevent their capture or simply never get caught. Looks like your term of protection ran out. I would like to know more confirmed facts for this case. So for now, he gets the benefit of the doubt.