After months of escalating tension between Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the threat of an ongoing political battle and courtroom drama may have finally come to an end.
For weeks, Delgaudio(R-Sterling) has vowed to fight the disciplinary action taken against him in July by the Board of Supervisors. But on Friday, he abruptly changed course and instead announced that he would accept the board’s vote to censure him, and would not appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit he had filed against the board.
The lawsuit was filed immediately before the county board took action in response to a June 24 report by a special grand jury that concluded a months-long criminal investigation of Delgaudio. The investigation was launched after one of the supervisor’s former aides told The Washington Post last year that Delgaudio had misused county resources and staff members to benefit his political campaign.
Delgaudio’s attorney, Charles King, filed the lawsuit in Loudoun County Circuit Court before the board’s July 17 vote to censure Delgaudio and remove his authority over the Sterling district budget. Despite King’s request to stop the board from taking action, the court declined to intervene and the lawsuit was dismissed Aug. 2.
According to the announcement released Friday, Delgaudio made the decision not to appeal the dismissal of the lawsuit after the Loudoun County Republican Committee adopted a resolution in support of Delgaudio at an Aug. 26 meeting.
The resolution requests that the Board of Supervisors reconsider removing the Sterling district staff, and asks that the board appoint a committee to conduct a separate investigation of the allegations against Delgaudio. The resolution also asks that Delgaudio be allowed a “full opportunity to present his case in the presence of and with the assistance of counsel.”
In his statement, Delgaudio said his “immediate objective” was assisting with the election of Republican candidates in November, adding that it had become clear that his lawsuit against the board was a distraction to serving his constituents and “mobilizing the Republican Party.”
The supervisor also apologized to the public and to his fellow board members for the “embarrassment” the incident had caused. “There is a lot of fence mending I must do with my colleagues on the board,” he said. “I should have been more careful. I will be more careful.”
Delgaudio echoed the appeal of the Republican committee resolution, and said that he would ask the board to revisit its vote to strip him of funding for a Sterling staff. He would ask that the board reinstate the funds “under very stringent conditions,” he said.
Loudoun County Democrats were unmoved by Delgaudio’s apology. In a statement Friday, Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chairman Evan Macbeth questioned the timing of the announcement on the Friday before a holiday weekend, and noted that Delgaudio had not apologized for his abuse of county resources.
“His ‘apology’ focused primarily on the ‘embarrassment’ that Loudoun Republicans have experienced,” Macbeth said. “He did not apologize today – nor has he ever – for his abuses of office and violations of County policies. Sterling deserves better.”