The Pennsylvania Game Commission has charged a well-known Richland businessman with illegally buying two gallbladders of black bears two years ago.
David Thomas Horten, 46, of the 1100 block of Solomon Run Road, was charged with two counts of buying and selling game.
In a criminal complaint dated Nov. 21, a game commission official from the Southwest Region said members of the special investigation unit sold Horten a black bear gallbladder for $100 at NyKo’s Restaurant on Scalp Avenue in Richland Township on Dec. 8, 2011.
Horten, owner of Nyko’s, then allegedly bought a second gallbladder for $60.
Horten referred telephone calls to his Johnstown attorney, Kevin Rozich.
“Mr. Horten is a well-known businessman in the area,” Rozich said.
“He has contributed to many charitable causes. He vehemently takes a position that he has done nothing illegal.”
Rozich questioned the timing of the game commission’s charges.
“If there was such egregious conduct going on, I can’t imagine them sitting on this for almost two years,” he said.
Bear gallbladders are used for medicinal purposes in Asia, where they can cost up to $3,000.
The game commission did not immediately return a telephone call.
Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.