York grilled on Delgaudio, says he’s for ‘sanctions’
When did Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York receive the complete documentation from Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s former staff aide Donna Mateer regarding Delgaudio’s questionable fundraising tactics? And why would York not think to immediately turn over all the information pertinent to the case to Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, who is in the midst of a second review of the complaint?
These were questions to which Loudoun residents demanded answers during a Nov. 20 “Chairman’s Town Hall” with York (R-At Large). The Delgaudio investigation served as the focal point of the meeting, which was scheduled after a loosely-called meeting of the full board was canceled.
Delgaudio (R-Sterling) has been accused of improperly using county offices and resources to raise money and target donors for his political campaign, something forbidden by county policy. The allegations were first reported in a Washington Post story that used Mateer as its main source.
Mateer, who was quickly fired after her concerns became known to Delgaudio, first provided a verbal complaint to the county’s human resources office in March. She handed over a thorough written recap several weeks after that. York, Vice Chair Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) and County Administrator Tim Hemstreet—supposedly the only three Loudoun officials immediately briefed on the case—referred the allegations to Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman, a Republican, who forwarded it to the Democrat Stamos to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest.
After Stamos’ first review, she said there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue a case against Delgaudio. But since then, more documentation has “been found,” according to county officials.
During the Nov. 20 townhall, held less than 48 hours before Thanksgiving, York said he wished he could impose sanctions against Delgaudio, but he’s been advised by County Attorney Jack Roberts not to do so.
Said York: “There are things I’ve wanted to do that at this point, quite frankly, I’ve been told not to do;” things, he said, that could be “construed as sanctions.”
“I respect the fact that many of you don’t like how I’ve handled this, and some of that rightfully so – clearly rightfully so,” York said to crowd with an estimated 25 people on hand, strictly for the Delgaudio discussion. “But I also have an attorney that is advising me on what to do, what not to do.”
On more than one occasion, York apologized for not immediately turning over all the evidence when he received it, but that’s something he’ll have to live with, he said in a conciliatory tone.
However, the chairman also expressed disbelief that Stamos wouldn’t have picked up the phone herself to call Mateer and ensure she had all the evidence.
The question remains as to whether Stamos, in her initial review, was told that she had all the documentation at her hands, which would have made calling Mateer unnecessary.
There’s contention from those critical of York’s handling of the case – namely former Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller, an attorney representing Mateer – that York has intentionally hazed the situation to protect the Republican Delgaudio and the all-Republican board as a whole. The former Democratic supervisor also believes York dragged his feet in handing off all the evidence to Stamos.
Miller’s political action committee, Real Advocate, filed a petition Nov. 21 in Loudoun County District Court in hopes of obtaining specific documentation relating to the Delgaudio case. Real Advocate has filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests with Loudoun County for correspondence regarding Delgaudio. Certain material requested was denied because the county said it was the “subject of the investigation.”
During the town hall meeting, York bluntly said he’s “not trying to cover this up.”
A separate Loudoun County administrative investigation, initiated by the Board of Supervisors in October, has been canceled because Roberts said it wasn’t wise to simultaneously have the county’s review and the special prosecutor’s review.
Additionally, the name of an investigator hired by the county to look into the Delgaudio complaint was found on one of Delgaudio’s fundraising lists, a fact first reported by the Times-Mirror.
York said an estimated time line for Stamos’ office to complete its investigation is unknown.