While working as the mansion chef, Schneider catered Cailin McDonnell’s reception through his private company, Seasonings Fine Catering and Event Planning. The Washington Post reported that Jonnie R. Williams Sr., chief executive of Star Scientific Inc., paid for the catering.
Under Virginia law, officeholders may accept personal gifts of unlimited value but must disclose any worth more than $50. McDonnell did not report the wedding payment, but said he did not have to because it was a gift to his daughter, not him. State law does not require that gifts to immediate family members be disclosed.
(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images) - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell
Lawyers for the two candidates sparred over the procedures that will govern the ballot tally and the crucial days leading up to it.
The Democrat lost the race for the House seat to Republican Tom Rust by 54 votes.
The mansion backdrop served as a reminder of the Virginia governor’s ongoing gifts scandal.
McDonnell and his wife have taken steps to boost Star Scientific, a former cigarette maker that sells a nutritional supplement from an ingredient found in tobacco and other plants. The company has lost money for 10 years and is the subject of a securities investigation and two shareholder lawsuits.
The governor has declined to say whether Williams has provided other gifts to his family. He has said he does not know if people other than Williams helped pay for the wedding.
The investigation into Schneider began several months before his March 2012 departure, when someone called the state’s hotline for waste, fraud and abuse allegations. Schneider was charged last month with four felony embezzlement counts.
The motion filed on Schneider’s behalf seeks “information concerning all gifts given to the Governor or any member of the Governor’s family” by Williams or any entity he is associated with or controls.
It also requests information regarding instances in which he suggests that he provided “food, chairs, tables, plates, glasses, silverware, serving dishes, flowers, rentals, staff, pickup, delivery or other catering services” to the mansion, McDonnell or his family without being reimbursed.
And it seeks information about the mansion director, other state employees or members of the governor’s family allegedly telling him that he could pay himself back by “taking it out in trade,” meaning taking food from the mansion.