A chunk of Rugby Road was shut down for an hour last night, WINA and The Daily Progress report, and nobody’s saying why. From 9:30–10:30, the stretch between Rosser and Preston was closed by state police, who stuck around for hours afterwards. The spokeswoman for the state agency would say only that it was part of a law enforcement investigation spanning agencies. Yet the Charlottesville Police said they have no awareness of the operation, and the the folks at the State Police division headquarters in Appomattox also said that they had nothing to do with it.
8 PM Update: As I wrote the above, the scene was repeating itself, with The Department of Homeland Security and the State Police arresting three people for printing fake IDs. Apparently last night was about executing a search warrant. Today they rolled up in an enormous armored vehicle, arresting two guys at the house, and grabbing another at Harris Teeter a short time later, after he tried to escape. It seems like a hell of a show of force for some guys printing fake IDs, so perhaps this was more than a few guys selling lousy knock-off licenses to college students to buy beer. They’ve been charged with mail fraud, fraud related activity in connection with IDs, and criminal complaint wire fraud.
Judge Paul Peatross has awarded Biscuit Run’s investors another $20M in state tax credits, K. Burnell Evans writes for The Daily Progress, bringing the price of the “donation” of the 1,200 acres to the state to a grand total of $40.5M.
The land was sold to the state for $9.8M, after the investors were left holding the bag on the worthless parcel when the real estate bubble collapsed, having paid $46.2M for the land at the height of the real estate craze. The project’s investors were banking on getting a lot of state tax credits (which can then be sold) in order to avoid personal financial ruin, since they presumably took out some big loans to cover that $46M, which they’d have to make payments on until they’d repaid the balance. But they didn’t get the money they needed—the state awarded them just $11.7M in conservation tax credits, because what land was worth in 2005 was rather more than what it was worth in . So they sued the state, demanding $19.48M, which is precisely what they just got. The investors’ appraiser claimed that the land was worth a stunning $87.7M—almost twice what they’d paid for it at the height of the bubble—and their attorney today says that the appraisal was vindicated by today’s court ruling, crowing that it “pretty much body slams” The Hook for their critical coverage of the appraisal.
I suppose it’s possible that the state appeals this ruling, but short of that, this now puts the taxpayer cost of this “donated” land at $33,750 an acre. For comparison, Rivanna Farm is on the market for $22,500/acre right now, and they’ll toss in a 10,000 square foot Georgian mansion at no extra charge.
Supervisor Chris Dumler pleaded guilty to sexual battery this morning, Courteney Stuart writes for The Hook, with the 27-year-old Democratic official pleading to a 12-month sentence, suspended to 60 days, liable to only serve 30, just on the weekends. He was arrested on charges of forcible sodomy in October, and faced accusations from a second victim just last week, dating to 2006.
One has to imagine that this will be followed by Dumler’s resignation from the Board of Supervisors. It’s tough to see how somebody can plead guilty to a sex crime and remain in elected office. If he hasn’t already decided to step down, he’s bound to come under a great deal of pressure to do so, and soon.
Scottsville Board of Supervisors representative Chris Dumler has been accused of sexual assault by a second person, Rachel Ryan reports for CBS-19. He was arrested on sexual assault charges in October, and later said that a pair of ex-girlfriends were conspiring against him. Dumler is scheduled to be in court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has dismissed the lawsuits against the Young Men’s Christian Association’s planned fitness center in McIntire Park, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. ACAC and Gold’s Gym sued Charlottesville and Albemarle County after the governments struck a deal with the YMCA to put a gym in the park, but didn’t open the process to a competitive bidding process that would have allowed either of those businesses to have a shot, as is standard in the procurement process.
The 39-page opinion makes for an interesting read. Although § 15.2-953 of the Virginia Code allows localities to provide money or property to non-profit organizations in exchange for those organizations providing services to citizens, the plaintiffs argued that the defendants’ actions here really should be governed by procurement law, and not by § 15.2-953. The court disagreed, citing a 2007 case to say that the gyms are “attempt[ing] a third-party challenge to a governmental action when such a challenge is not otherwise authorized by statute.” “ACAC alleges that it pays taxes in Albemarle County, it is not seeking to protect the interests of the taxpayers of Albemarle County and thus does not allege a justiciable controversy.” Also, the plaintiffs didn’t name the YMCA as a defendant, making it impossible for the court to compel them to do anything in this matter. The court considers a string of similar claims, and comes to the same conclusion in every case—there’s nothing that the court can do about them.
It was in December of 2007 that City Council voted to lease parkland to the YMCA—just over five years ago—and May of 2010 that the lawsuits were filed. This legal dispute was said to be the only thing standing in the way of starting construction, so presumably that’s the next step.