Coal Tattoo

Thomas Harrah, the former Massey Energy employee charged with faking a foreman’s certificate and lying to investigators, appeared in federal court in Beckley today to enter a guilty plea to federal charges. (See previous coverage here, here and here).

In reading the court documents filed with the plea agreement, they provide some additional details,  especially regarding his initial statement to investigators that suggested that officials from Massey’s Performance Coal Co. subsidiary had helped him obtain a forged foreman’s certification.

A joint “stipulation of facts” states that, six days after making those initial allegations, Harrah admitted on Oct. 28, 2010, that he had been dishonest with the FBI and MSHA in the first interview:

When he failed the examination, the Performance Coal officer did not give him a number to call, but instead discussed with him the possibility of retaking the examination.  Harrah did not retake the examination.

Instead, a couple weeks after learning that he failed the examination, he reviewed the examination book, and saw the foreman’s numbers for those who had recently passed the examination. He changed a couple of digits on one of those numbers and a couple of months later he began using that number to sign pre-shift and on-shift examination books at the Upper Big Branch Mine.

Here’s a copy of the plea agreement and related documents: