Citizens line the street for Haymarket Day, commemorating the founding of the town in 1799. (Town of Haymarket)
Citizens line the street for Haymarket Day, commemorating the founding of the town in 1799. (Town of Haymarket)

There are apparently a lot of internal rivalries being played out among the political leaders of Haymarket, and a number of them unfurled publicly on Haymarket Day, the town’s annual festival. On that festive day of Sept. 21, the town’s police chief charged the vice mayor with being drunk in public, after the vice mayor got in a scuffle with a council member’s husband. Then the town’s mayor swore out a complaint against a former town council member, now chair of the planning commission and former mayoral rival, for swearing at him in public. Then the town council censured the vice mayor before his case ever went to court.

Got that? Both the Northern Virginia Times and Potomac Local News have been following this closely, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

Jay Tobias is the vice mayor of Haymarket, population about 1,800, in western Prince William County. On that fateful day commemorating the town’s founding in 1799, Tobias and his friend Joseph Bare, a neighbor and husband of town council member Rebecca Bare, got into a “silly disagreement,” Tobias told the Times, “which elevated to a shouting match and some wrestling/jostling…this was not any kind of brawl or fight.” The men were on the porch of Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant. Police Chief Jim Roop came and gave Tobias a ride home. The chief told the Times he instructed Tobias not to go back to Giuseppe’s that night.

Later that evening, Roop told the Times he saw Tobias having a beer over at former councilmember Bob Weir’s house along with Bare, his Giuseppe’s foe. And then even later that night, the chief stopped by Giuseppe’s and who should he see? Tobias, allegedly.

“Having taken Jay home [one] time already,” Roop wrote in a police report obtained by the Times, and observing that Tobias appeared to be unsteady, slurring his speech and with bloodshot eyes, “he was placed under arrest for DIP [being drunk in public].” Giuseppe’s also issued him a “no trespassing” order, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, in other action on Haymarket Day, Weir and Rebecca Bare were having a chat at the festival when Mayor David Leake came over. Leake defeated Weir for mayor last year. Things got heated and Weir “literally started screaming profanity,” Leake told the Times.

Weir told the Times he advised the mayor to “politely go away and, no, they weren’t screamed, and nothing but a dismissive tone” was used with him. A summons for public cursing was issued to Weir. Both he and Tobias have court dates on the misdemeanors set for Nov. 7.

But that didn’t cool things down. At the town council meeting last week, the council took up a motion to censure Tobias and fine him $250, even though he hasn’t been convicted of anything. The council voted 3-3 on the resolution, with Tobias voting no and questioning whether the council could even impose such a fine. Then Mayor Leake broke the tie and voted in favor of the sanctions, and Tobias was ordered to pay the town by next Monday, regardless of the outcome of his misdemeanor case. Then, the Times reported, the mayor and another councilman got into an argument over alleged video taping of someone’s wife dancing, Tobias walked out, and the whole mess was to be continued…