Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio is scheduled to appear in court next week before a new judge appointed to preside over a recall petition case that aims to remove Delgaudio from public office.
In response to a Feb. 4 request by Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Burke F. McCahill, the Supreme Court of Virginia recused Loudoun’s Circuit Court judges from the case and appointed retired Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Paul Sheridan to oversee the March 4 hearing.
A local grass-roots group, Sterling Deserves Better, submitted the petition in January requesting that Delgaudio (R-Sterling) be removed from his seat on the county Board of Supervisors. The petition, signed by 686 voters, alleges “neglect of duty” and “misuse of office.”
Charlie King, Delgaudio’s attorney, has described the petition as “a long reach” and said the allegations it makes “involve subjective questions of temperament, best decided by the voters of Sterling, not a Circuit Court judge.”
King said he would likely file a motion to dismiss the case.
Sterling Deserves Better launched the petition drive last year, when Delgaudio was the subject of a criminal investigation sparked by a former staff aide’s allegations that he used county staff and resources to benefit his political campaign.
A grand jury was impaneled to hear the evidence against Delgaudio. The jurors did not return an indictment but instead issued a report outlining numerous apparent problems with Delgaudio’s actions in office. The report also indicated that an indictment was not possible in part because Virginia law governing the misuse of public assets does not apply to “part-time” government employees like the county supervisor.
Delgaudio, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, was formally censured by the Board of Supervisors in July, removed from his seat on local committees and denied control of his district budget. His position on the county’s Transportation and Land Use Committee was restored earlier this year.
Among the matters expected to be addressed at the upcoming hearing is a request by Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney James E. Plowman (R) to be recused from the case to avoid any possible conflict of interest, as many of those who are tied to the matter are county employees, elected officials and prominent members of the community.
If Plowman is recused from the case, another attorney would be appointed to represent the petitioners. Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos (D), who led the criminal investigation of Delgaudio, has indicated that she would serve as prosecutor if asked, according to the Loudoun commonwealth’s attorney’s office.