True to form, perennially ethically challenged hate group president and Loudoun supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) yesterday brushed aside the legal action to have him removed from office by announcing in his “news[sic]letter”:
“A former losing liberal candidate is in the media again, today, unhappy with my four times re-election success as Sterling Supervisor,” before adding modestly, “Sterling is getting the best Sterling District Supervisor possible right now—and every day.”
Meanwhile, Delgaudio’s youthful attorney Charles King was in the media again repeating Delgaudio’s favorite excuse that anyone who points out his client’s gross, documented ethical misconduct is merely a political opponent (whom Delgaudio in the past has itemized as “the lying liberal media,” people who “hate Sterling,” people who are against the Boy Scouts and family values, people “who refuse to defend the flag,” etc etc etc), picking on Eugene because of his “provocative views on national social and family issues.”
King also repeated the Delgaudio fable that Eugene wants nothing more than “to have the opportunity to prove” his innocence of the charges leveled against him by last year’s special grand jury investigation and by the unanimous censure vote of his fellow members of the all-Republican Board of Supervisors.
That one is a particularly interesting whopper, given that Delgaudio has had a year and a half now to give the public, the Board, and his constituents any response on the particulars of the case against him. To date, he was failed to address a single fact in the case — except to tell one complete and utter lie, by claiming falsely that in having his county-paid staff arrange meetings with campaign donors, he was really just soliciting contributions to a youth football league. (Multiple witnesses, including two Republican businessmen who were solicited for contributions, testified to the special grand jury that Delgaudio was seeking only political contributions to his campaign; other testimony confirmed that the football league knew nothing of Delgaudio’s supposed fundraising on their behalf, and in fact the league was not even conducting any fundraising activities at the time.)
Then, after a year of ranting that it was the lying liberal media who is behind it all, and repeating over and over “I have not had an opportunity to respond,” when he repeatedly was offered an opportunity to respond, and lying over and over that all he wanted to do was help poor underprivileged boys have a chance to play sports, Delgaudio finally offered a vague non-apology apology this past September for the “embarrassment” he had caused . . . to the Republican Party (he did not apologize to the public or the Board) and said he was sorry he had distracted attention from what would thenceforth be his top priority, “mobilizing the Republican Party” to help elect the party’s candidates in the November state elections. (We saw how well that turned out.)
Of course one basic question is, if he still really believes his only fault was standing up for “family values” against the “lying liberal media,” just what “embarrassment” was he apologizing for?
There has been a lot more nonsense in the last couple of days from Delgaudio’s very loyal supporters in the Loudoun County Republican Committee and related circles about the recall case, so perhaps it’s once again time for a little refresher on civics, Virginia law, ethics in government, and the actual facts in the case.
To hear Delgaudio and his supporters speak (and Board Chairman Scott York (R) said much the same thing on repeated occasions — he kept saying he could “not fire” Eugene and that it was up to the voters of Sterling), you’d think that an election is a four-year license to do whatever you want short of criminal conduct. Actually, in Virginia, even criminal conduct is not automatic grounds for removal from office — except if you’ve been caught advertising marijuana-related drug paraphernalia. (Glad to know we’re tough on drugs here in the Commonwealth.)
But there are two basic checks that nonetheless do apply to elected officials’ conduct, even in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which at last check ranked 47th among the states in openness, transparency, and corruption.
One is the rules and standards of the elected body itself. Even the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors was ultimately shamed into enforcing its standards, after a year of stonewalling, shuffling, and baloney-spouting, when the evidence of Delgaudio’s unethical conduct and violations of the rules became undeniable following the special grand jury’s report. The Board last summer voted unanimously to censure Delgaudio and also took away his staff and took control of his office budget. In its censure resolution the Board found that Delgaudio had engaged in the following unethical behavior in violation of the Board’s rules:
Misusing public assets for Public Advocate business. The Special Grand Jury reported that the testimony “supports at least a circumstantial assertion of misuse of public assets” and stated that witness testimony indicates that at times your BoS aides were directed to report to the executive assistant for Public Advocate, who is not and has never been a county employee, and routinely cc’d her on county emails.
Misusing county employee(s) by having them help with political fundraising. In the Special Grand Jury report your legislative aide, Donna Mateer, testified that she was instructed by you to contact people on the Igor list to set up appointments with him. According to testimony, you told her that she would get five percent of any large donations you received as a result of these meetings or calls.
Misusing county employee(s) by having them going door to door to drop self promoting fliers. The Chairman’s aide received a call from a Sterling resident who claimed one of your aides knocked on her door and when she told the aide that he was not allowed to be soliciting, according to the resident, your aide replied by saying, “don’t be surprised if you find your car windows spidered.” A term used to indicate a shattering of the windows. This resident filed a police report, but no charges were brought forth.
Verbally abusing members of the public. It was reported in the LTM’s online story this past week that in an online newsletter that you sent out you are quoted as saying about a member of the public “My former opponent is like Adolph Hitler in WWII or similar to Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War”.
Verbally abusing your staff aide. There were several incidents when Donna Mateer came to several of the staff including to one of Chairman York’s aides that she was being berated by you. Specifically she told several staff aides that you called her “stupid” and told her not to attend the staff aides meetings because she was too “stupid”. Additionally she told at least two of the staff aides that you called her a f***ing b**ch.
(The “Igor list” was the list of names of potential donors; Public Advocate is Delgaudio’s gay-bashing fund-generating hate group.)
The other sanction is the one provided for in Virginia law for removal from office of elected officials “for neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties.” (Presumably the courts are pretty narrow in their definition of “incompetence,” since otherwise the whole Loudoun Board would have been pitched out by now.) This is an unusual provision, and is not strictly speaking a recall, since it is for cause rather than simply an expression of democratic will between regularly scheduled elections. But that is just the point: the statute envisions that there may be cases where an official engages in behavior that while not criminal is so abusive of the basic responsibility of public office as to warrant removal before the democratic remedy provided for by the next election. The action is required to be supported by a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last election of the official, but again the action is not an expression of popular sovereignty but rather a legal proceeding in which the official’s competence to remain in office is assessed at trial by a court of law.
The grand jury’s investigation and other documented evidence that has already come to light clearly has established substantial grounds to justify the assertions that Delgaudio had misused his office and neglected his duty — two of the statutory grounds for removal from office.
His misuse of office was especially egregious, unethical, and corrupt. According to testimony of multiple witnesses corroborated by substantial documentary evidence, Delgaudio had a county-paid aide spend nearly all of her time setting up meetings with potential campaign donors. The donors testified that they were handed a brochure at these meetings with Delgaudio that read “Retire Delgaudio Campaign Debt.” They testified that the only purpose of the meeting was to solicit political contributions to Delgaudio.
The grand jury heard testimony that Delgaudio had his county-paid staff aides do work for his outside anti-gay fundraising group Public Advocate; report to the office manager of Public Advocate; and routinely copy the staff of Public Advocate on emails.
(By the way, it would be a full-time job to critique the incredibly lame reporting of our local “news[sic]papers,” but one of the lamest things we’ve seen lately is Loudoun Times-Mirror boy reporter Trevor Baratko’s formulaic phrase, which he must be very proud of because he keeps using it, describing the grand jury’s having found a “likely, but not blatant, misuse of public funds” by Delgaudio. I think he needs to look up what that word “blatant” means, since it is hard to imagine a more blatant misuse of public funds than to order your county-paid staff to engage in political fundraising.)
Delgaudio’s neglect of duty was likewise amply documented by the special grand jury, which noted that Delgaudio directly ordered his aides not to answer phone calls from constituents, not to attend routine staff meetings with other supervisors’ aides that were part of the basic duty of carrying out the Board business, and “in at least one instance reprimanded one of his aides for trying to resolve a constituent issue instead of concentrating on the Igor list.” The jury added: “On multiple occasions, the lack of attention to constituent concerns resulted in the Chairman of the Board as well as another supervisor to take action to address these constituent concerns, even though the constituents did not live in their district.”
An initial hearing has been scheduled in Loudoun Circuit Court next week on the removal petition. It’s likely that a lot more details are going to come out in the coming days about Delgaudio’s routine practice of using his elective office and public trust as a subsidiary of his very lucrative gay-bashing fund-generating operation.
Stay tuned! The fun never stops in Loudoun County “government,” at least when it’s in the hands of you-know-who.