Ex-mayor posts bond of $30,000

WEIRTON – Former Weirton Mayor Mark Harris is free on $30,000 bond while awaiting trial on embezzlement charges.

According to reports, Harris, 44, and his wife, Nycole, appeared Wednesday before 1st Judicial Circuit Court Judge Martin Gaughan at the Hancock County Courthouse.

Harris, who served as mayor of Weirton from 2007 to 2011, is charged with three counts of embezzlement and one county of conspiracy. Nycole Harris is charged with conspiracy.

Both had been indicted by a Hancock County grand jury meeting last week.

The charges are connected to allegations that Harris stole money – in the amount of $16,272.22 – connected to a skate park project undertaken while he was mayor.

According to comments provided last week by Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis, the skate park funding, comprised of a state grant, contributions from county officials and private donations, was placed into an account to which only the former mayor had access.

The indictment alleges that Harris wrote three checks – one to himself, one to cash and one to his wife – from the skate park account and used the money for his own benefit.

The alleged theft was discovered by an investigative audit by the West Virginia Auditor’s Office after Mark Harris left office.

Gaughan said the couple can return to their current home in Myrtle Beach, S.C., but must be back in court Oct. 15.