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Influence of Developers, Allies Runs Deep

Developer Greenvest L.C. contributed to the campaigns of six pro-growth Board of Supervisors candidates before the 2003 election. Above, Greenvest's Kirkpatrick Farms community.
Developer Greenvest L.C. contributed to the campaigns of six pro-growth Board of Supervisors candidates before the 2003 election. Above, Greenvest's Kirkpatrick Farms community. (By Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post)

Myers became a key organizer of Citizens for Property Rights, a lobbying group that assailed county supervisors who supported building limits, targeting them with attack ads and sharply criticizing them at public meetings.

Greenvest, counseled by Myers, pushed to replace the county supervisors with officials sympathetic to development. The goal, Chief Executive Jim Duszynski said in a 2003 interview, was "regime change."

In the run-up to the 2003 election, Greenvest companies and executives contributed $18,000 to the campaigns of six pro-growth board candidates and thousands more indirectly through state and local GOP organizations. Overall, companies and individuals tied to the development industry poured more than $490,000 into supervisor campaigns in Loudoun, more than seven times the figure four years earlier, according to data from the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.

Myers and others in the real estate development industry took key jobs in Loudoun's Republican Party and backed candidates who would provide reliable votes for development. Myers became a top strategist for three candidates: Bruce E. Tulloch, whom she had first encouraged to run in 1999; Snow, a former Army helicopter pilot whose district includes many of Greenvest's planned developments; and Lawrence S. Beerman II, a former county supervisor.

The campaign succeeded, and when the votes were counted Nov. 4, 2003, candidates supported by Myers, Greenvest or their allies had won six of the nine seats on the Board of Supervisors. They made up the new majority: Tulloch (Potomac), Snow, Lori Waters (Broad Run), Jim Clem (Leesburg), Mick Staton Jr. (Sugarland Run) and Eugene A. Delgaudio (Sterling), all Republicans.

Beerman didn't make it to the general election, losing in the Republican convention. But Snow later nominated Beerman to the Planning Commission.

When Snow was sworn into office just before Christmas 2003, Myers stood beside him. At a party meeting after the election, GOP Chairman J. Randall Minchew, a prominent development attorney, congratulated Myers for her role in helping elect a new majority and spoke of having her mentor the freshman supervisors.

The New Regime

The new supervisors met for the first time in January 2004, and Tulloch took effective command. Voters had elected another supervisor, Scott K. York, an Independent, as chairman, but Tulloch, a burly, aggressive figure, marshaled the six votes needed to give him control of the board's agenda.

Tulloch and his majority went to work. The board took an initial vote to allow central sewer and water lines throughout a 23,000-acre swath stretching from Leesburg to south of Dulles Airport. It was a key step in an effort to open up a vast area to builders. Greenvest had purchased thousands of acres there.

Myers was now at the center of a powerful political network largely built on a common interest in seeing Loudoun expand. In 2004, she was appointed to the county's Board of Equalization, whose role in valuing property kept her involved in land-use questions.

Myers retained her role as a key adviser to Greenvest. "Dale was in and out of the office all the time," said a former Greenvest executive who asked to remain anonymous so he could speak freely about the company. "She was advising [Greenvest officials] a lot about land use and what to be doing."

She was also counseling county officials. Snow said Myers and Beerman brought him their detailed plans for how sections of his district should be developed. "Those two were invaluable about the process of where things should go and why they should go," Snow said.

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