More Great Moments in Virginia Governance

Former Front Royal-Warren County EDA chief, Jennifer McDonald

Front Royal hanky panky. The Commonwealth Attorney of Warren County has asked to convene a special grand jury to probe “possible criminal activity” by the former executive director, Jennifer McDonald, of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority, reports the Northern Virginia Daily. The request follows the Tuesday filing of a $17.6 million lawsuit by the EDA against nine defendants alleging financial improprieties including loans, use of lines of credit for certain projects, and authorization of work and purchase agreements of which the board was ignorant. “We, like many others, were misled and unaware of the extent and magnitude of this scheme,” said that board in a statement.

Meanwhile, back in the City of Richmond…

Sloppy accounting. An audit of Richmond city finances discovered poor accounting practices going back to the tenure of former Mayor Dwight C. Jones. Reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch: The audit “also found problems with the figures [Mayor Levar] Stoney’s administration said it had reconciled and released last summer.” Five of six accounts tied to school maintenance and construction did not have accurate balances, the result of erroneous or inappropriate charges and other sloppiness in accounting.”

And a $30 million school construction cost overrun. From the RTD: Three new schools being built in Richmond through a meals tax increase will cost $30 million more than originally projected. “It is now clear the initial estimates, provided in 2017, under-represented the true cost of construction,” said the Joint Construction Team, a group of city and school district officials tasked with overseeing the process of building schools, in a joint statement this week.

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5 responses to “More Great Moments in Virginia Governance

  1. One of the key differences between the kerfuffle in Front Royal and Richmond is that Richmond is required to have the audit and report the costs of the schools including the overruns… and that allows the critics to do their thing while apparently in Front Royal and perhaps EDAs in general throughout Virginia, no such financial transparency is required and that allows the folks who are supposed to be watching over the EDA to claim they were just woefully “ignorant” of the ‘goings on” – as if it was not their responsibility and role to ensure that a mandatory financial transparency was required.

    Just imagine what it would be like in Richmond if they were allowed to operate like the EDA in Front Royal!

    • That’s exactly why I’m worried. Every county has an EDA. How many of them has someone watching carefully what they’re up to? How much bad debt is lurking on their balance sheets? Nobody knows.

      At least we know we have a problem in Richmond. Until a month ago, nobody knew we had a problem in Front Royal.

  2. I want everyone to remember Tim Kaine was once the mayor, via city council, of Richmond when the same level of ineptness was occurring under his watch. Hmmm no one ever seems to discuss that…. He was somehow deemed qualified to be a governor, senator, and potential president via vice presidential candidate even though he couldn’t run “Detroit upon James”.
    This ineptnes appears acceptable at all levels of politics. All that matters is keeping power for your tribe and nothing more than an oligarchy. Our government of by the people and for the people is quickly dying. Service and decency are way gone.
    The good news is Biden wants to rid the country of western, “white mans”, laws and jurisprudence. At least it’s going to get interesting when they finally end those pesky elections.

  3. The EDAs, as well as other governmental entities like Regional Authorities, should be required to have annual audits in no small part
    because the leadership of such entities often does not accept responsibility for their role in leading the organization.

    This is one of those things about the Virginia Way, i.e. top down requirements for standardized audits as well as JLARC oversight that is “good”.

    Government is not ever going to be perfection – and especially so in places like Richmond where the problems are so severe that no one “guy” (or gal) is going to “fix” it. That’s why Kaine has not been judged just on that one job and overall – he has the majority support of Virginians but not Conservatives. The truth is that no politician from the left will have the support of folks on the right so that’s not exactly new.

    • Kaine has not been judged because he has been protected by the media. Whether that would have made a difference in his political career is unknown.

      And as Peter laments the loss of 43,000 journalism jobs, I regret it was only 43,000. Good journalism would result in both sides being continually upset and angry about the hammer taken to their side, as well as gloating over all the revelations about the other side. We don’t have good journalism in America.

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