The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors took decisive disciplinary action against Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio on Wednesday night, issuing a strong condemnation of problems identified in a special grand jury’s report about the veteran public official last month.
In three separate votes, the supervisors moved to formally censure Delgaudio; to place his district budget under the control of the full board, except for minor expenditures; to remove his staff aides; and to prohibit him from serving on any county, local and regional committees.
Delgaudio opposed all three motions. Supervisors Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) and Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) joined him in opposing his loss of authority over the Sterling district budget.
The board’s action came in response to a June 24 special grand jury report that marked the end of a months-long criminal investigation of Delgaudio, who faced accusations by a former staff aide that he used his county office to benefit his political campaign.
The special grand jury did not indict the Sterling supervisor, but the jurors took the unusual step of issuing a report that outlined a number of possible problems with the operation of Delgaudio’s public office. Those issues included the potential misuse of county resources and county employees; a suspicion of unreported campaign donations; a lack of focus on constituent services; a hostile work environment; and the blurring of lines between work done for his county office and his anti-gay, conservative nonprofit organization, Public Advocate of the United States.
Vice Chairman Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), who proposed the motion to discipline Delgaudio, said it was time for the board to put an end to a scandal that has dragged on for months.
“You’re still on the Board of Supervisors. That’s not within our power,” Williams told Delgaudio. But the other steps were necessary, he added,“so that frankly you are not in a position to misappropriate county resources, as has happened in the past.”
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said the supervisors had to act to protect the integrity of the board and the local Republican party, particularly because the special grand jury took the “extraordinary” step of issuing a report.
“We have to police ourselves. We have to police our own,” Buona said. “I know there are people in the Republican party who are mad at us right now. Read the report. Just read the report.”
Delgaudio has consistently denied all accusations against him. His attorney, Charles King, filed a petition on Delgaudio’s behalf in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Monday, seeking to block the board from acting against Delgaudio at the Wednesday meeting. The petition was denied by Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne.
Delgaudio continued to defend himself at the board meeting Wednesday, urging his colleagues to support his request for an ad-hoc committee to conduct its own public investigation of the allegations against him.
“I thought as an American that I had my day in court, and there was no day in court,” he said. “You have decided based on these allegations that I should not be a member of this body in good standing ... I have not had the opportunity to respond.”
Delgaudio failed to convince his colleagues to allow his attorney to speak on his behalf. The supervisor did not directly address any of the allegations in the special grand jury report.
But the Sterling supervisor hinted that he would be throwing punches of his own: After the court issued the ruling Wednesday, King filed a subpoena against Board Chairman Scott K. York ( R-AtLarge) , seeking campaign finance records from January 2010 through the present -- including bank statements, deposit slips, donor records and and expenditure receipts.
“There’s something specific I’m looking for,” King told The Washington Post at the meeting, referring to the subpoena. He declined to be more specific.
York could not be immediately reached for comment. But he had strong words for Delgaudio before the board voted Wednesday night, saying it was time for the board to send a signal that “enough is enough.”
“This is no way to conduct business up here,” York said. “Sterling deserves better. Loudoun County deserves better.”