Immediately before the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted last week to formally censure Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio and remove his authority over his district budget, Board Chairman Scott K. York urged fellow members of the Republican party to say “enough is enough” to the controversial Sterling supervisor.
But this week, local Republican officials and some members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee voiced support for Delgaudio, who was the subject of a months-long criminal investigation after a former staff aide alleged that he used his county office for political gain.
A special grand jury concluded the investigation last month with no indictment. But the jurors took the unusual step of releasing a detailed report that identified numerous problems with Delgaudio’s public office — concerns that led the all-Republican county Board of Supervisors to take strong disciplinary action against the supervisor last week.
At the Loudoun County Republican Committee meeting Monday, a majority of about 80 people in attendance expressed support for Delgaudio, according to officials who were present at the meeting. A formal resolution, requesting that the board reconsider its actions against Delgaudio and offer him a chance to defend himself, was proposed at the meeting but did not come up for a vote; the committee was about a dozen members short of the number needed to vote on a resolution, according to officials.
It is unclear whether the proposed resolution to seek reconsideration of the board’s actions against Delgaudio would be introduced at a future meeting, according to Republican officials. The committee must have a quorum present — 40 percent of the committee membership — before a resolution can come to a vote.
Virginia Sen. Dick Black (R) expressed support for Delgaudio and criticized the board’s decision to punish the supervisor after the special grand jury did not issue an indictment.
“I’m uneasy about taking action against anyone who’s been cleared after a six-month grand jury investigation,” Black said, according to a written statement of his remarks to committee members. “I respectfully encourage the Board to carefully reexamine its decision regarding Supervisor Delgaudio before moving forward with these actions. I just feel it’s the right thing to do for Sterling citizens.”
Loudoun County Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), who proposed the board’s motion to discipline Delgaudio last week, said the committee meeting on Monday “was almost set up like [Delgaudio] was campaigning for office — there were people handing out stickers, and there were all kinds of billboards up on the stage.”
Williams said the grand jury’s report made it clear that Delgaudio had used county staff and resources improperly.
“At the end of the day… there is enough testimony, and there’s enough corroborating evidence to convince me and every other member of the Board of Supervisors, except Eugene, that there was a misuse of county resources,” Williams said. “The truth is, I don’t know how we could have done anything different. We can’t not acknowledge that there was wrongdoing that occurred.
Williams said there had been some discussion among supervisors after the Republican committee meeting, but there was no indication that the board would re-address the issue.
“There doesn’t seem to be anybody clamoring for reconsideration,” Williams said.
York declined to comment on the committee meeting, noting that he had not seen the proposed resolution.
“I will say that I hope that folks would first read the grand jury report in its entirety before making their decision” about whether or not to support Delgaudio, York said.
Delgaudio has vowed to fight the board’s actions. His attorney, Charles King, filed a complaint in Loudoun County Circuit Court last week, urging the court to order the board to go through a public process and allow Delgaudio the opportunity to explain himself before implementing any punishment.
“I am disappointed the Board voted not to allow me the opportunity to present Supervisor Delgaudio’s defense to the charges made by Chairman York,” King said in a statement Monday. “How the Board handles this matter is as important as what they decide.”