Arlington County Commonwealths’ Attorney Theo Stamos will be asked to represent Sterling residents in a recall petition case that seeks to remove Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio from office, retired Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Paul Sheridan said at a hearing Tuesday in Loudoun County Circuit Court.
Sheridan, who was appointed to preside over the case by the Supreme Court of Virginia after Loudoun Circuit Court judges recused themselves, said he would grant Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman’s request to also be recused to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
Sheridan said he would appoint Stamos (D), who led a criminal investigation of Delgaudio last year, to represent the petitioners, assuming she chose to accept the appointment. Plowman (R) said Stamos had indicated to him that she would serve in the case if asked by the court.
A local grass-roots group, Sterling Deserves Better, submitted the petition in January requesting that Delgaudio (R-Sterling) be stripped of his seat on the county board. The petition, signed by 686 voters, alleges “neglect of duty” and “misuse of office,” citing evidence that surfaced during the criminal investigation sparked by a former staff aide’s complaints that Delgaudio used county staff and resources to benefit his political campaign.
A grand jury impaneled to review the evidence against Delgaudio did not indict the supervisor, but instead issued a report outlining numerous alleged problems with his conduct in office. Delgaudio has consistently denied wrongdoing.
At the hearing Tuesday, Sheridan said Stamos was the logical choice to represent the Sterling petitioners, given her extensive knowledge of the allegations against Delgaudio.
“Her integrity is well-established,” Sheridan said of Stamos. “This is a delicate case, an extraordinary case.”
An additional status conference was scheduled for March 25 at 2 p.m. Delgaudio’s attorney, Charles King, said he hoped to use the interim period to work with Stamos to “narrow the focus” of the case.
Sheridan said he wanted the proceedings to move quickly and to remain focused on matters of law rather than politics.
“This is new waters,” he said of the case.
In a statement issued after the hearing, King said he had received preliminary records from the county that undermined the accusations made by Delgaudio’s former staff aide, Donna Mateer.
Mateer has said she spent much of her working hours during early 2012 making calls to schedule fundraising meetings for Delgaudio, working from a fundraising list provided by the supervisor. King said county records showed that Mateer made a total of 107 calls to numbers on that list between Sept. 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, for a total duration of 2.5 hours.
“The preliminary data does not corroborate Ms. Mateer’s allegation she spent weeks making phone calls,” King said. “I will ask Ms. Mateer about these inconsistencies when her deposition is taken.”