Friday, September 28, 2012



Office: 703-771-8344; Fax: 703-777-1485;;

September 28, 2012


Hon. Tim Hemstreet
County Administrator
1 Harrison Street, SE,
MSC# 2, 5th Floor
Leesburg, VA 20177-7000

Re: FOIA Request relating to alleged misconduct of Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio
Dear Mr. Hemstreet,

            In accordance with Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2 -3700 et seq.), I am requesting copies of any and all records, as described further below, relating directly to the alleged misconduct of Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio that has been unearthed in recent days and is the subject of a federal investigation. 
Published reports by the Washington Post, and other media, suggest that the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors intends to ignore these allegations against Supervisor Delgaudio – as he doesn’t believe he can do anything about it.
While it is stated that the FBI is investigating the matter, we cannot ignore the fact that the federal authority, under the Dobbs Act, for such investigations is a difficult way to prosecute a local official, and we cannot ignore how an earlier investigation by the FBI of a different Board of Supervisors concluded with absolutely nothing happening.
In the face of the indifference of our elected officials and the questionable outcome of a federal investigation, it would appear that the citizens of Loudoun County are best served by fending for themselves, ferreting out the facts as best they can, and thus am I making this FOIA request – and I would expect that there will be more – as there should be so that we may, as a community, rebut the disgrace that Supervisor Delgaudio has brought to this fine community that is better than and undeserving of such elected representation.
Accordingly, as a resident, property owner, businessman, and voting citizen of this County, I am requesting records that have been reported in the media that apparently were and presumably many still are in the possession of the County.  You might be well served to prepare packets for others – as I do not expect that this will be the last request by a citizen of this County.
In this regard, meaning no disrespect to you or your office or any other County official, as you are a stakeholder yourself, in how our County appears to its citizens and the rest of the world, I most respectfully request, if you have not already taken the precautions to do so, that you bar Supervisor Delgaudio’s access to books, papers and electronic media relevant and material to the pending public charges lest the County facilitate, by its inaction, any spoliation (or further spoliation) of the County’s public records.
More precisely, I am requesting, as narrowly as I can fashion this request, the following information:
1.      Any and all documents reflecting the employment of Donna Mateer, who allegedly worked for Supervisor Delgaudio, and is the source of the public allegations, including but not limited to any job application, letter of acceptance, starting date, ending date, letter of resignation or dismissal, compensation paid, dates and hours of service, whether the information is retained in hard copy or digital media.
2.      Any and all documents reflecting the enrollment of Donna Mateer at the Leadership Institute, including but not limited to, participation in the High Dollar Fundraising Campaign Management and Online Activism, including expense vouchers for attendance, brochures, evidence of participation, any fee paid or reimbursement made for participation in said Institute by or on behalf of the County or Supervisor Delgaudio.
3.      Any and all documents including correspondence, notes, calendars, e-mails made by Donna Mateer and/or Supervisor Delgaudio soliciting or discussing contributions for Supervisor Delgaudio for any purpose.
4.      Any and all lists of names used to schedule fundraising appointments by Donna Mateer or any other County employee, full or part-time, on behalf of Supervisor Delgaudio.
5.      Any and all documents including correspondence, notes, e-mails by and between Donna Mateer or any other County employee, full or part time, with Supervisor Delgaudio discussing his campaigning and/or fundraising practices on County time at the public offices of the County.
6.      Any and all documents including correspondence, notes, or e-mails, by Donna Mateer or any other County employee, full or part time, complaining about Supervisor Delgaudio making homophobic remarks in any employee’s presence.
7.      Any and all documents including correspondence, notes, or e-mails, reflecting any offer or payment by Supervisor Delgaudio for a bonus or bonuses to Donna Mateer or any other County employee, full or part time, for assembling donor lists on County time.
8.      Any and all documents including correspondence, notes, or e-mails by and between Donna Matee, as well as any other County employee, full or part time, assigned to Supervisor Delgaudio, with any representative of Public Advocate, but particularly Hannah Scoggins, reportedly Delgaudio’s office manager at Public Advocate.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our offices, and ask either for me or for my Executive Assistant, Patricia Hall (703-771-8344), in my absence.
Thank you for your time and kind attention to this matter.
Very truly yours,

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney infamously said recently that 47% of our citizens "believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it." 

Romney therefore doesn’t believe in providing any public assistance to the ill, the hungry, or the homeless?  Perhaps Anatole France captured Mitt’s understanding when he wrote: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to get in the streets, and to steal bread.”  On the question of stealing bread, do we think Mitt would have imprisoned Jean Valjean for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving sister and family (see Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables )?

Romney further complained that these folk who think they are “entitled” are people who pay no income tax." Romney said, "my job is not to worry about these people.  I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Wow.  What a political buzz kill for all those people who thought this guy was going to get them jobs so that they could earn money and pay taxes. 

Perhaps, Romney, the profit sucking predator of those companies he liquidated for profits, revealed his true “Mr. Hide” side more candidly because he was “with his true friends.”

Romney likely thought he was enveloped in a cone of silence addressing other wealthy plutocrats at a dinner that cost each a political contribution as much as an upscale motor home.

Romney spoke to those who “think” like he does, in this disparaging way, that those not paying federal income taxes are not taking responsibility and caring for their lives. 

The 47% that Romney is talking about are mostly working poor, children, mothers, young adults, those who lost their jobs in the recession, the disabled, seniors, servicemen and service women.  

Is “Romney the Indifferent” saying that a student who doesn’t pay income taxes is failing to take personal responsibility, or a retiree who collects social security, or a person on unemployment who lost a job because his company failed because of shoddy banking practices?

Romney should know that the student, mother or senior who doesn’t pay income taxes pays payroll taxes (for Social Security and Medicare).  

But Romney thinks these are undeserved “entitlements,” though these men and women paid hard cash in advance of their senior years for Social Security and Medicare, and the government now has an “obligation” to pay what it promised.  Vice Presidential Candidate, Paul Ryan, the Mini-Mitt, got booed by the AARP because he advanced this line of reasoning publicly, that Romney would reform Social Security, Medicare and Health Care. 

Not incidentally, those who don't pay federal taxes, also pay sales, excise and property taxes.

Romney the plutocrat sees takers and parasitic moochers.  It’s like those bright intensely colored pictures of images you used to find in cereal boxes.  You’d stare at them for a while until they were imprinted on your cerebral cortex, you’d close your eyes, and then, when you looked at a blank wall, you’d see that same image, almost wherever you looked even though it was only trapped in your mind – and didn’t really exist.  Romney got this fixed image of his and he sees anyone who doesn’t pay taxes as a moocher.

Romney is worth between $190 and $250 million dollars, and earned about 13 million dollars last year, and paid only about 14% in taxes, less than many middle class taxpayers including teachers, cops and construction workers; that makes Romney more like a taker; Warren Buffett said no wealthy person should pay less than most middle class Americans; Romney doesn’t agree.

Romney got busted making these remarks making him the leading candidate for the summertime Scrooge award, for the most non-empathetic candidate this presidential season.

When caught, Romney raced to a microphone to say he’d been “inelegant.”  If he’d known we’d find out, he would have said it differently.  He asked, are we going to believe our lying eyes and ears or what he tells us to believe.

I believe that Mitt, who is himself well-housed, and well fed, has been caught saying aloud what the current Republican Party believes.

Herman Melville wrote, “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.”

Mitt offers this nation a dark vision and a sorry legacy – and the strongest evidence is his own words.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


John Flannery (Photo: Holly Flannery)

About a year and a half ago, I talked about a longing I had harbored for several springs, to ride a motorcycle; our rolling countryside reminded me of another time and place when I was younger and rode such hills and country elsewhere.

You may know or imagine what it’s like to be on a motorcycle, a part of what you see, no longer a mere observer in a controlled environment, confined by a windshield; instead, you are exposed, in the space surrounding, pushed by winds at the rush of the bike and the changeable weather, able to see to the clouds above, the road below, and the horizon that lays ahead, catching the scent of field grasses, magnolia and honey suckle, and feeling the tilt of the bike as you lean into the turn. 

In a car, you are surrounded by sameness, the radio, phone, all of it a homogenous extension of what you experience all the time wherever you are, at home, in your car, at the office.

When you ride alone on a bike, it revives your spirit, and helps you to expel the toxic nonsense that confounds our lives.  When you share a ride with someone, the wind and the bike insulate each of you even though you share the experience.  While riders ride with other bikers, I’ve always thought riding was most about going solo and that you were better for it.  Not surprisingly, there is a community among riders even when they don’t know each other, never saw each other before.  Riders reach out their left hands when they pass each other on the road in opposite directions, as if waving toward the shared road and toward each other, acknowledging another rider, saying hello.

I really think riding a bike is like flying (though firmly bound to the road).  A most charming Irish friend from Dublin, who lives in Loudoun, rides a Triumph; in his delightful brogue, he’ll tell you that riding his bike is like riding a “Flying Chair.”  

I rode for years while I was a student, but the most exceptional experience I had was when I “did the continent” after engineering school, before I began Columbia law.

After a prop flight from NY to Heathrow, I bought a BSA in London, bound my duffel bag to the back of the bike with bungee cords, drove to Dover’s white cliffs, caught a ferry to Calais and there launched a three month tour of Europe.  I was ready for anything because I had a bed roll for those nights there’d be no inn or youth hostel.  One night in the South of France, it was so pitch black dark on the country road, I pulled off into a field, picking my way as carefully as I could; I was awakened the next morning, however, by cattle surrounding my bedroom in their breakfast eating hall.

My renewed impulse to ride prompted many invitations to try a classic (a Harley, Triumph, or BMW, and many others), even a bike that looked more like jet engines on wheels.  I was leery, however, of being over-mounted.  So last September, I found a 250 cc Suzuki at Loudoun Motorsport in Leesburg.

While I have managed to drop my bike in the dirt once quite soundly, I’ve found the rest of my rides all that I hoped for. 

I can easily offer you a taste of the marvelous landscape I’m talking about if you’ll just try a (slow) ride on Loyalty Road north from Waterford to Taylorstown. 

The road rises and falls and twists like a friendly roller coaster through brilliant pastures, well-tended lawns, sweeping vistas, and historic homes.  It just has to be experienced.  If there’s anything that reminds me of that continental tour I took years ago, it is this exquisite ride north along Loyalty. 

If there’s anything that should enliven a community’s interest in restoring and preserving our county’s verdant and historic legacy, it is signified by this short expanse of road and the environs.

You may not be able to take this jaunt on a bike, as I have, but if you do try it this Fall in a car, turn off everything, i.e., your music, phone, air conditioning, and throw open the windows, slow down the speed, and let your senses inhale and experience something that is, albeit remotely, like what you’d enjoy if you were on a motorcycle instead.