Loudoun Supervisor Delgaudio will fight disciplinary actions, attorney says

Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post - Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio greets parents and children outside Sterling Elementary School in this 2012 file photo.

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An attorney for Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio vowed Thursday to fight the censure and disciplinary actions handed down by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors amid accusations that Delgaudio used his county office for political gain.

Following several hours of impassioned debate late Wednesday night, the board voted to place Delgaudio’s district budget under the control of the full board — except for minor expenditures — eliminate his staff aide positions, and prohibit the veteran public official from serving on any local or regional committees.

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The reprimand was in response to a June 24 special grand jury report that marked the end of a months-long criminal investigation of Delgaudio (R-Sterling). One of the supervisor’s former aides said that Delgaudio used county resources and staff to benefit his political campaign.

Several supervisors said they hoped their actions would provide closure to a controversy that has plagued the board since last year, when The Washington Post first reported the allegations made by Donna Mateer, a former staff aide of Delgaudio.

But Delgaudio’s attorney, Charles King, said Thursday that Delgaudio, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, would continue to defend himself and press for “due process” through a pending complaint filed against the Board of Supervisors on Monday in Loudoun County Circuit Court.

The complaint asks that the court require the board to go through a public process and afford Delgaudio an opportunity to address the allegations “point by point” before any disciplinary action is implemented, King said.

“We’ll ask the court to send it back to the board and hear Eugene out,” he said.

The criminal investigation of Delgaudio, led by Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos (D), concluded last month with no indictment. But the special grand jury took the unusual step of issuing a report that identified a number of problems with the operation of Delgaudio’s public office, and what jurors considered legal limitations that prevented an indictment.

The report cited the potential misuse of county resources and county employees; a suspicion of unreported campaign donations; a lack of focus on constituent services; a hostile work environment; and the blurring of lines between the work of his county office and that of his conservative nonprofit organization, Public Advocate of the United States, which was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its strident campaigns against gay rights.

Vice Chairman Shawn M. Williams (R-Broad Run), who proposed the motion to discipline Delgaudio, said the special grand jury’s report made it clear that Delgaudio had abused his authority in office — even if the law made it impossible for an indictment to be considered.

“I believe this board’s ethical standards should be much higher than a technical loophole in state law,” Williams said.

Consequences were necessary, Williams told Delgaudio, “so that, frankly, you are not in a position to misappropriate county resources, as has happened in the past.”

Delgaudio continued to defend himself during the meeting and urged his colleagues to support his request for a committee of supervisors to conduct its own public investigation.

“I thought as an American that I had my day in court, and there was no day in court,” he said. “You have decided based on these allegations that I should not be a member of this body in good standing. . . . I have not had the opportunity to respond.”

But a majority of the supervisors had only sharp replies to Delgaudio’s appeals.

Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said Delgaudio “has spent a lot of time tonight telling us he hasn’t had a chance to respond, but he has spent no time actually responding.”

Before the final vote, Board Chairman Scott K. York urged fellow Republicans to join the board in saying “enough is enough” to Delgaudio.

“This is no way to conduct business up here,” York said. “Sterling deserves better. Loudoun County deserves better.”

Delgaudio opposed all motions to discipline him. Supervisors Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Janet S. Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) joined Delgaudio in opposing his loss of authority over the Sterling district budget.

Delgaudio’s attorney said Thursday that the final word had not yet been spoken on the matter: “It’s going to get interesting,” he said, referring to the pending legal complaint.

In addition to the complaint filed against the full board, King filed a subpoena against York on Wednesday, seeking campaign finance records from January 2010 through the present — including bank statements, deposit slips, donor records and expenditure receipts.

“There’s something specific I’m looking for,” King said in reference to the subpoena. He declined to give more details.

York said in an e-mail Thursday that the subpoena was “just more of Eugene’s silliness and threats” and said that he would work to have it dismissed.

“We gave Eugene his due process last night, and he was given ample opportunity to respond to the concerns of the Board. . . . However, he chose not to,” York said.

Al Nevarez, a Democrat who ran against Delgaudio in 2011 and is leading a recall petition drive that aims to remove Delgaudio from office, said the board’s action this week would only fuel those efforts further.

The recall petition, which exceeds the required number of signatures to be considered, would be filed in circuit court soon, Nevarez said.

 
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