On July 22, 2012, you recently published a letter from a Ben Lofton of Bellaire, Ohio, which was nothing more than a brutal lie and dishonest attack on Mr. Robert E. Murray, the Founder of Murray Energy Corporation, The Ohio Valley Coal Company, American Energy Corporation, and OhioAmerican Energy, Inc. in eastern Ohio. Again, every one of Mr. Lofton's statements is an outright lie.
To prove how wrong the News-Register has been here, enclosed is a letter that I received on October 3, 2007 from Mr. Ben Lofton stating that, "I also know that Mr. Murray truly does care about the safety and welfare of all his employees..."
Mr. Lofton's letter to me noted he had worked for The Ohio Valley Coal Company (TOVCC) from March 2006 to July 2007, and had left to take a job at another coal company. It went on to say, "This was a very grave mistake. While working for TOVCC I had a very good attendance record and worked very hard to help the TOVCC team to succeed. I am asking you to please forgive me and to consider hiring me back. I really enjoyed working at the Powhatan no. 6 mine and I know that TOVCC is committed to safety and production because the two go hand in hand. I also know that Mr. Murray truly does care about the safety and welfre of all of his employees and my heart goes out to him after the terrible tragedy in Utah. I pray that you will consider hiring me back. I am a reliable and hard working coal miner who has learned to not always listen to others and that th grass isn't always greener on the other side. Should you re-hire me, my dedication to TOVCC will be unsurpassed ..."
Mr. Bob Murray is twice over the largest employer in eastern Ohio. He created the 1,600 direct, and 18,000 indirect, jobs in the area that he accounts for from scratch and hard work. For the News-Register to print these untruthful attacks hurts Mr. Murray's ability to keep these jobs here and his relationships with his companies' lenders, customers, regulators, and the public in general. You do great disservice to every citizen of the Ohio Valley when you print such grossly unfair and dishonest attacks as those from Mr. Lofton.
We have repeatedly asked the Wheeling News-Register to at least seek the input from Murray Energy or Ohio Valley before you print this type of untruthful vicious attack. Yet, you seldom do.
If the News-Register has any care whatsoever about the jobs and economy of the Ohio Valley area, then you need to extend an effort to help support them, not destroy them. All you need to do is ask our companies for input before you print, so that you are not so grossly embarrassed as you are now.
Paul B. Piccolini, director of personnel
The Ohio Valley Coal Company