So in the end, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) accomplished what all of the evidence of his wrongdoing that has been in the hands of the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors for more than a year could not: Delgaudio so ticked off and personally embarrassed the Board with his personal attacks, bizarre defenses, and now frivolous legal filings that they finally could not escape taking disciplinary action against him. “The integrity of my own Republican party is at stake,” explained Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) last night, always one to get his priorities straight.
After three hours of desultory discussion (and after hearing from several citizen-members of Buona’s “own” Republican party who were outraged that Eugene was being treated “unfairly” and that the Board was about to knuckle under the demands of “failed left-wing politicians”), the Board voted down Delgaudio’s demand that any disciplinary action be delayed while the Board appoints a committee to look into the matter — supervisors Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge), good Republicans to the end, supported Eugene on that motion — then voted to formally censure him; to remove all of his staff aides; and to place his Sterling district budget under the control of the full Board. (Once again, Higgins and Clarke, with touching loyalty, stood with Eugene in opposing that last motion.)
It is abundantly clear that Delgaudio’s own increasingly outrageous actions of the last week pushed the Board to move: they had been prepared to sweep the matter under the rug. But it became clear that, as vice chairman Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) said last night, “it was time for the board to put an end” to a scandal that was threatening to “overshadow” its other wonderful accomplishments — and would continue to do so as long as they let it drag on more, as Delgaudio was fully intending to.
In the last two weeks Delgaudio has been posting on his bizarro Sterling district website (alongside the usual attacks on “the lying liberal media,” illegal aliens, and leftist “baby killers”) a series of weird personal barbs at Chairman Scott York (R-At Large), calling him a “hypocritical bully” and accusing him of refusing to “defend the American flag,” among other transgressions.
The last straw was Delgaudio’s going to court on Monday to obtain an injunction to preemptively block the Board from disciplining him. “You have shown no contrition. Instead you take us to court,” fumed Ken Reid (R-Leesburg).
Let us not forget one salient fact: with only a few very minor additions, the actions that the Board censured Delguagio for last night — and the documentary and testimonial evidence that proved Delgaudio’s misappropriation of public assets for personal gain, his ordering his county-paid aides to engage in illegal political fundraising and to perform work for his outside anti-gay hate group, and his abuse of staff and creating of a hostile work environment — were all fully known to Chairman York over a year ago. York kept them all a secret. They would still be secret to this day but for the Washington Post breaking the story last fall. The Board hemmed and hawed and stonewalled for a year, hoping it would all go away. The special grand jury subsequently empaneled to investigate the matter heard exactly the same testimony and received exactly the same documents and reached exactly the same conclusions that anyone looking at the publicly available testimony and evidence last fall would have reached.
York and the Board were prompted in the end to act not because they were troubled by Delgaudio’s ethical violations and illegal acts, not because they actually care about public integrity as a basic principle: but only because that they were embarrassed it got out and was hurting their own reputations — and, of course, in the words of that great statesman Ralph Buona, the reputation of “my own Republican party.” (Buona did, however, still apologize last night for rocking the party boat: “I know there are people in the Republican party who are mad at us right now,” he said, for committing the grave sin of admitting in public that a fellow Republican is a crook.)
But it ain’t over, as much as the Board is hoping to have “put an end” to it. Delgaudio’s legally absurd filing for a restraining order was part political theater — last night he kept going on about being denied his “day in court” — but it is becoming apparent from further hints his lawyer has since dropped that it was also a legal maneuver to allow Delgaudio to dig up what he hopes to be embarrassing evidence about York’s own campaign financial irregularities: Delgaudio’s lawyer has filed a subpoena for York’s campaign records from January 2010 to the present, including bank statements and deposit slips. “There’s something specific I’m looking for,” Delgaudio’s lawyer told the Washington Post last night. We can’t wait!
Meanwhile, Delgaudio’s political theater of the absurd plays on. Repeatedly given the opportunity to respond to the specific evidence of misappropriation of public assets and other findings in the grand jury’s report, Delgaudio kept saying last night “I have not had an opportunity to respond.” He also talked a lot about being “an American.” And with his trademark logic that we have to confess we will miss if and when he’s gone, he asserted, “The criticisms that you are making of me can’t possibly be true.”