After his preliminary court appearance yesterday, perennially ethically challenged Loudoun GOP supervisor (but we repeat ourselves) Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) faced some actual questions from the press in front of the courthouse about his misuse of office for private gain.
Having had nothing but softball interviews to date, where he has been allowed to spew his usual bilge that he is simply being persecuted by evil “liberals” for his “pro-traditional family” and “conservative” values, this apparently came as a shock to Eugene — the notion that he might actually someday have to address the actual and substantial evidence that he stole from the public to line his own pockets.
Eugene’s reaction was to start yelling. He refused to answer any of the questions from the press about the actual facts of the case, and ended by shouting, “There is nothing to these charges and never has been and never will be. Political sour grapes of the first order — period.” His lawyer had to take over to prevent a further public meltdown.
But just out of curiosity, Eugene, was it also “political sour grapes of the first order—period” that led a special grand jury of ordinary citizens to conclude last year that you had misappropriated public funds for your political campaigns, and to note that the only reason an indictment was not returned was a bizarre loophole in the statute against misappropriation of public resources that it exempts “part-time” officials such as county supervisors?
And was it also “political sour grapes” that led to a unanimous vote by the all-Republican Board of Supervisors last summer to censure you for these actions, and also took away your office staff and control of your district budget — a punishment you agreed to accept and which led you to apologize for the “embarrassment” you had caused?
And was it also “political sour grapes” that motivated more than 600 voters in your district to sign a petition initiating the current legal case to have you removed from your office for misuse of same (a polite way of saying corruption)?
Just asking! And maybe the slowly-becoming-informed press will, too, at their next opportunity!
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s hearing (to which Eugene showed up a few minutes late, expressing his usual deep respect for government institutions) Judge Burke McCahill announced that all of the judges of Loudoun’s Circuit Court were recusing themselves from the case and that he was asking the state Supreme Court to appoint a substitute judge.
This ought to raise a few eyebrows in itself. McCahill offered no grounds for the recusal, and normally it requires a circumstance in which a judge’s impartiality may be legitimately questioned — such as having kinship or financial ties to one of the parties or their attorneys, having made public statements outside of the courtroom expressing an opinion on the case, or being a material witness to evidence in the case. Simply wanting to duck a political hot potato ought not in the normal course of events to be sufficient reason for a judge to refuse to take a case.
So we do wonder just what ties our judges have to Eugene that they need to steer clear.
Because the law for removal from office requires quick action, we can expect only a short delay in the proceedings. All signs are this one is going to go to trial, and it should provide a wealth of fascinating details about Eugene’s SOP.
Delgaudio predictably has not passed up an opportunity to turn this little unpleasantness into yet another fundraising appeal for his anti-gay Public Advocate organization, however: he sent out a letter the other day that began, “The Homosexual Lobby and their allies in the media have unleashed an attack on my livelihood as a humble public servant. . . . Please chip in $10 or $20 or even $35 to help Public Advocate stand strong against the Homosexual Lobby.”