A Democratic candidate for chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has been charged with speeding, reckless driving and other infractions eight times in the past decade, a search of public records shows, and served two years’ probation after pleading guilty in 1995 to attempting to drive while impaired by alcohol.
Tim Chapman, a 51-year-old real estate developer, is one of four Democrats vying for the top elected position in Virginia’s most populous and economically powerful jurisdiction, which has not had a contested primary for board chair since 2003. The primary is June 11.
Neither Chapman nor his campaign spokeswoman responded to questions about those and other incidents sent by phone, text and email Thursday morning and afternoon.
In a statement that appeared to be a response to the inquiries, Chapman said he “never made a secret of the fact that I made mistakes as a young man.” The statement referred to one incident, an altercation with an Alexandria police officer in 1997 that led to two misdemeanor charges, which were dropped after Chapman agreed to do community service. Chapman said he “will forever be grateful” that the officer agreed to let the charges be dropped: “His intervention provided a fork in the road that I desperately needed.”
Chapman is battling three other Democrats for the nomination to succeed Sharon Bulova (D-At Large), who is retiring after 31 years on the board, the past 10 as chair.
The Washington Post searched public records for all four candidates — Chapman, Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (Lee), Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen (At Large) and Georgetown University law professor Alicia Plerhoples — and for Joseph Galdo, the Republican candidate.
McKay and McElveen each had one speeding citation; the records search did not reveal legal problems for Plerhoples or Galdo.
Chapman’s record, however, showed a long history of driving troubles, most recently in April 2017, when a Virginia state trooper stopped him for driving 88 mph in a 55-mph zone. He was charged with reckless driving and fined nearly $300, including court costs, records show.
Other citations include driving with a suspended license, running a red light and driving while his car registration was either expired or did not have proper state and local tags.
The Calvert County, Md., state’s attorney’s office confirmed the alcohol-related arrest from 1995, two years before Chapman launched his Reston-based development company.
A police officer in the southern Maryland jurisdiction found Chapman sitting inside his car on the side of Route 4, impaired by alcohol, an incident report shows.
Chapman pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to drive while impaired and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, said Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Torres. The sentence was suspended in exchange for him serving two years of probation, which included counseling for substance abuse, Torres said.
The Alexandria arrest in 1997 began with then-Officer Shahram Fard trying to ask Chapman on the street outside his apartment about an incident that had happened nearby, Fard — now a police captain — said in an interview Thursday.
Chapman dismissed the questions and tried to enter his apartment, pulling the door to close it as Fard used his foot to attempt to keep him from doing so, Fard said. Fard wasn’t injured, and a judge ordered Chapman to perform community service, dropping the misdemeanor charges of assaulting a police officer and impeding an investigation.
Fard said Chapman contacted him several months ago to apologize, telling him over coffee that the incident altered the course of his life.
“It was like a different trajectory for him that ultimately led him to be a successful businessperson and, I guess, now seeking office,” Fard recalled Chapman saying. “I guess we got to be, somewhat, friends.”
The records search showed that McKay has been named as a defendant in multiple civil lawsuits related to his role as a county supervisor. In 2002, a state trooper cited McKay for driving 80 mph in a 55-mph zone in New Kent County, east of Richmond. Earlier that year, McKay was stopped for reckless driving in Fairfax but was not found guilty.
McKay confirmed both incidents, saying he paid the fine of about $100 for speeding on the spot.
“I think everyone can relate to getting a speeding ticket at some point in their life,” McKay said. “To just have a speeding ticket from 17 years ago tells you a lot about my ethics. My background is as clean as a whistle.”
McElveen confirmed that he was cited for driving 15 miles over the 35-mph speed limit in Fairfax in 2014.
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.