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    Drug charges dropped against prominent Leesburg businessman

    Thomas C. Watson


    Drug charges against a prominent Leesburg businessman were dropped today prior to a preliminary hearing in Loudoun County General District Court due to a lack of evidence.

    Thomas C. Watson, 41, was arrested March 19 on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute after police said a package with oxycodone and MDMA was delivered to his Leesburg home.

    According to the Leesburg Police Department, the package, which contained 10 oxycodone pills and 8.5 grams of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, was delivered to Watson's home on the 400 block of Davis Avenue SW at 9 a.m. Leesburg Police had worked with U.S. Postal Inspectors to track the shipment.

    From the time of his arrest, Watson, the founder of Capital Computers and Network, an IT company, denied the charges against him.

    β€œHe did not accept the packages - in fact he rejected them. He wrote on the packages 'Return to Sender' and 'Wrong Recipient.' They were placed in his car to take to the post office for return,” Marilyn Rust, acting as Watson's spokesperson, told the Times-Mirror in a written statement in March. β€œIt was the police who opened the package.”

    Watson's business has earned accolades around the county, receiving Leesburg's Community Steward award and being nominated for the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce's best small business award. Up until his arrest, Watson had served on the Town of Leesburg's Technology and Communication Commission as chairman. His arrest prompted Leesburg mayor Kristen Umstattd to propose felony background checks for all potential commission appointees, also requiring nominees to fill out a questionnaire on criminal history.

    Watson had previously been found guilty of assault in 1995 in Tuscon.

    Comments

    This is really not about disclosure. The question was not asked; maybe in the future the Town will ask the question but that is not what the issue is about.

    The first issue is timing. The town went all this time without the question or background checks why show a total disregard for a man’s life and draw more attention to it at that time and to do so with a show of total disrespect towards Mr. Watson. It could have been discussed once things had settled down in a few weeks but instead the Mayor drew far more attention to the situation than needed making it a more difficult and widely publicized situation for what ultimately turned out to be a faulty investigation. The Mayor and many others on the Town Council and in the press showed a total disregard for what this person had done for their community giving back to the town, charities and other civic organizations. I doubt they could have done more to alienate him and many others through their actions. At no time did they even mention all this person had done and express any level of compassion. How would it have been handled if they had not had a past? What if an elected town person had received the package? Would the leadership of the Town have expressed sadness this had happened and acknowledged the large contribution and appreciation for service. Would they have announced the view that in the American system of justice there is a presumption of innocence and the appropriateness of NOT making further comment? Or would there have been a condemnation of that person for having a past with the political insinuation of abhorrent disassociation no matter what the person did to improve their life and that of others? This situation could not have been handled worse by the town and it seems they are still unwilling to own up to their reprehensible behavior.


    I worked with Tom before.  He is a great guy.  Would have nothing to do With drugs.  Hope he files a lawsuit on whoever did this..


    Anyone who knows Tom Watson, knew that he would never be involved with drugs.  The one thing that I know about Tom is that he lives a healthier lifestyle than most people and takes care of his body. He would never do anything to jeopardize his health or that of anyone else.  Congratulations,  Tom!


    Someone used law enforcement as a pawn to get this guy. Time to investigate and recall the culprits who ordered this travesty of the justice system!


    blame kristin umstattd on the rush to judge


    Seems to me that someone high up had to give the Leesburg police the authority to move forward? That person should be fired and at least mentioned in these news reports. Now there is an appearance of corrupt police or US mail.


    It’s unfortunate that because of the rush to judge an upstanding citizen and business owner of Leesburg, a man’s life has been trashed because the media and those in elected office went for the kill before the evidence could be reviewed. I thought it was ‘presumed innocent until proven guilty’? Tom has given of himself in service and support of his community and this was how he was treated.

    Just as quick as they were to judge, let’s hope the town and mayor offers a very public apology in a similar fashion.

    Regardless of the current administration, Tom has and will always have friends that support him and his family.


    I’ve been following this story closely since it first broke. As a local business man who knows a fair number of the people involved in this situation, it’s good to see this over with. It’s clear that a number of folks in our local government jumped to incorrect conclusions and were reactive to save face at times. It seems now that leadership has rightfully put all of this nonsense to rest.

    Having met Mr. Watson on a number of occasions, I do know that he is very talented business man and that he dedicated serious time and energy to helping the town with technology planning. Also, for years he did ongoing pro bono work for a number of non-profit organizations around the county. I for one will express my condolences for the affects this must have had on his life, and will thank him for all that he’s done for our community (and know that a lot of others will do the same).


    It smells like a setup ... that someone used the criminal process to set this guy up for political purposes.


    When this story first broke months ago, my initial thoughts were that there must be more evidence (computer, USPS, telephone, etc. records) that wasn’t provided to the press. Either that or the authorities got ahead of thremselves and rushed to judgement before gathering all of the facts. Unfortunately, it appears the latter was the case. And the travesty was compounded by the mayor and town council taking very public action that just served to “pile on” the inevitable character assassination. I trust the mayor and town council will be just as quick to offer a very public apology and amends. Let’s see how responsible they are.

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    Loudoun Business Journal - Fall 2014

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