Loudoun board to vote on whether to investigate Delgaudio

October 2, 2012

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will vote Wednesday on whether to investigate recently reported allegations that Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio used county resources to benefit his political campaign, according to a statement Tuesday by the board’s chairman, Scott K. York.

The Washington Post reported last week that a former county aide to Delgaudio (R-Sterling) spent the majority of her working hours making hundreds of phone calls to schedule fundraising meetings for the supervisor. Three people who agreed to meet with Delgaudio told The Post that he solicited donations to his political campaign.

In the statement, York (R-At Large) addressed the accusations made by Donna Mateer, Delgaudio’s former aide, who filed a statement of complaint with the county’s human resources department after she was fired in March.

“These allegations, if true, are at least a violation of county policy and are being taken seriously by the Board,” the statement said.

Delgaudio has repeatedly denied that he used county resources to benefit his campaign, maintaining that all fundraising efforts were to benefit a youth football league. He did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.


Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

York’s statement said Mateer’s complaint had been given to Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman (R) for review. Plowman in turn referred the matter to the commonwealth attorney’s office in Arlington County, which “did not recommend pursuing any charges against Mr. Delgaudio” based on the information provided, the statement said.

Mateer’s complaint also claimed that Delgaudio subjected his employees to a hostile work environment and made racist and homophobic jokes and comments. Because board aides are not covered by the county’s grievance policy, those allegations could not be formally addressed, York said in a previous interview.

Delgaudio has denied that he berated his employees and said that any comments he might have made were not intended to be taken seriously.

According to the statement Tuesday, York will ask that the board direct the county finance, government services and operations committee to conduct a thorough review of all board aide policies.

“This Board believes it is incumbent upon any Board of Supervisors to operate with the highest of ethical standards and conduct,” the statement said. “Regardless of any ongoing investigation by an outside party, it is imperative that this board investigate this matter . . . and take action if a member of the Board has violated those standards.”

While previous boards have generally adopted a code of ethics and standards of conduct at the start of a new term, the current Board of Supervisors has not.

Delgaudio, a four-term supervisor, has frequently found himself at the center of controversy during his years in office, for his eccentric commentary at the county dais and for his role as president of a conservative nonprofit organization that has stridently railed against the gay community.

Delgaudio’s nonprofit group, Public Advocate of the United States, was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, this year. Last week, the organization filed a federal lawsuit against Public Advocate on behalf of a same-sex couple whose photograph was allegedly used by the group without permission on anti-gay-marriage campaign literature in Colorado.

Former Loudoun supervisor Stevens Miller, a Democrat, quickly applauded York’s statement in a letter Tuesday but suggested that the all-Republican board appoint an ad hoc subcommittee to carry out the investigation of Delgaudio. Miller offered to serve on such a subcommittee.

“I am sure you will agree that my participation would go a long way towards rebutting any suggestion that the committee’s investigation of Mr. Delgaudio was simply a ‘whitewash’ or other pro forma exercise,” he wrote.

Loudoun Democrats called last week for Delgaudio to resign from public office.

“He has proved himself unfit for office many times over, but these accusations remove any doubt,” said a statement by the Loudoun County Democratic Committee. “His misuse of office, treatment of staff, and flagrant violation of county policies are unacceptable.”

The Loudoun County Republican Committee did not respond to requests for comment.

Delgaudio posted a response to The Post’s report on his campaign Web site last week, reasserting his claim that the fundraising project assigned to Mateer was strictly to benefit the Lower Loudoun Boys Football League.

Caitlin Gibson covers Loudoun County for The Washington Post.
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