Guest Column

Phillip Rodokanakis

Letter from the Ad Hoc Committee

to Prevent Corruption in Fairfax County




Dear Attorney General Kilgore,


     We would like to follow up on the earlier opinion issued by your office on October 2, 2003 , in response to Del. David Albo’s inquiry on whether the alleged conduct by Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Connolly violates the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act. Although you concluded that a there is a possibility that a violation of this act may have occurred, you also concluded that your office has no authority and referred the matter to the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County .


     Nonetheless, we believe that there is probable cause to suspect that more serious offenses are involved, namely, bribery and criminal conspiracy. As such, we ask your office to review the allegations summarized below with a view of undertaking an investigation into this matter. Our concern stems from the fact that the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Fairfax County is extremely busy prosecuting the “sniper” cases and should welcome any assistance that may be rendered by your office.


     A summary of our analysis follows.


     As you know, the Washington Post’s Lisa Rein reported that Providence District Supervisor Gerry Connolly, who is running for Chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors, had improperly lobbied the Board for approval of housing development projects proposed by the West Group--which is closely tied to his main source of recent income, World Resources. Gerald Halpin, the Chief Executive of West Group, is also the founder and part owner of World Resources. Gerald Halpin is the father of World Resources President Peter Halpin. Both companies have overlapping partners, investors, and owners.


     Connolly obtained his consulting work with World Resources by repeatedly lobbying West Group Sr. V.P. Tom Fleury for extra income beyond his supervisor salary. Connolly even lobbied Fleury, who is West’s County zoning point person, for extra business at a Connolly fundraiser.


     Subsequently, Connolly lobbied the County Board to approve West Group’s recent proposal to build four luxury condo high rises in Tyson’s Corner in his Providence district. Connolly pushed the necessary zoning variances for these towers through the Board, but never revealed he had received consulting fees from World Resources, which has overlapping directorates with West Group. 


Then, Connolly unabashedly used the Commonwealth’s law requiring County officials voting on zoning variances to disclose “any business or financial relationship” with the applicant to disqualify Dranesville Supervisor Stuart Mendelson from voting on West Group’s luxury tower application. Because Mendelson’s law partner was representing Gerald Halpin on an unrelated matter, Mendelson had to disqualify himself from voting on an issue of immense importance to Dranesville voters, who live in areas adjacent to West Group’s luxury towers building site.


Connolly claims he didn’t have to disclose his receipt of hefty fees from World Resource, because County Attorney David Bobzien told Connolly he was only a “consultant” for World Resources, not an “employee”. Bobzien’s opinion is, at the very least questionable and in all likelihood legally erroneous. Furthermore, §2.2-3121B of the Code of Virginia requires local employees to seek written opinions from the Commonwealth’s Attorney—not a verbal response from the County Attorney (reportedly, Bobzien’s response was not reduced in writing until two years after it was originally rendered).


Virginia ’s bribery statute (§18.2-447) applies to “any benefit” provided as “consideration for or to obtain or influence ... the recipient’s ... vote”.  World Resource provided Connolly with significant financial benefits, which served as consideration not only for Connolly’s vote on the West Group Tyson’s luxury tower proposal, but also to obtain the votes of other supervisors whom Connolly successfully lobbied.


§2.2-511 of the Code of Virginia specifically allows the Attorney General to institute or conduct criminal prosecutions in cases involving a conspiracy to commit a felony (obviously, if Connolly violated the State’s bribery statute, it required two or more persons to conspire in committing this crime). In such cases, the Attorney General need only seek the concurrence of Robert Horan, the Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney, before initiating a criminal investigation before a grand jury of Fairfax County citizens. 


Mr. Horan, who is spending the vast majority of his current time prosecuting John Malvo in the sniper cases, will probably not seek to roadblock an investigation of Connolly’s alleged bribe-taking. But Mr. Horan must be publicly put on the spot; otherwise partisan politics may influence his decision.


We, therefore, urge you strongly to write publicly to Robert Horan, seeking his concurrence in your planned investigation of Providence District Supervisor Gerry Connolly, for alleged bribe-taking, conspiracy, and other lesser included offenses.  We urge you to write this letter immediately, before this man is elected to the Chairmanship of our County Board , which represents more than one million Fairfax citizens.


One man with strong ties to prominent Northern Virginia developers should not be allowed to break the Commonwealth’s laws with impunity. 


We look forward to your favorable consideration of our request.








1.    Phillip Rodokanakis

2.    Peggy Rodokanakis

3.    Dan Gray

4.    Patrick McSweeney*

5.    Peter Ferrara

6.    Keith Born*

7.    Wanda Born*

8.    Howard R. Lind

9.    Mike Thompson, Jr.

10.   Mike Lane *

11.   James Turbett

12.   Thomas F. Barthelemy

13.   Jeff Evans

14.   Joe Underwood

15.   Larry Krakover

16.   Mary Campbell

17.   Donald E. Scoggins

18.   Chuck McAndrew

19.   Joan Schmidt

20.   William Schmidt

21.   Sandra K. Speer

22.   James Speer

23.   James Taylor

24.   Debbie Taylor

25.   Whitmal Hill

26.   Meredith Quillen

27.   John Taylor

28.   Denise Reheuser

29.   Terrence Wear

30.   Jim Wink*

31.   John Clerici

32.   Alma Jackson

33.   Robin Angle

34.   Arthur Purves

35.   Bernie Hite

36.   Perry Young

37.   David B. Swink

38.   Kent S Webber

39.   James Rollins*

40.   John Grisby*

41.   Diane H. Sachs

42.   John Litzenberger

43.   George Croft

44.   Carter S. Thomas

45.   Matthew Forys

46.   Ronald Cloutier

47.   Christopher Gray

48.   Peter Gray

49.   Patrick Gray

50.   Michael Gray

51.   Helen Gray

52.   James Renne

53.   Thomas O’Malley

54.   Bernard Victory


* Asterisks denote non-Fairfax County residents who have a strong interest in seeing that the laws of our Commonwealth are enforced.


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