41 thoughts on “Court Hearing in Van der Linde Case”

  1. Van Der Linde should use the Rico Statute in his own lawsuit against the RWSA. It looks to me like it’s about trying to eliminate fair competition.

  2. Heh… I’m with you Waldo. I like to think of myself as somewhat informed on local goings-on, and I have tried to follow this story, but I keep having trouble making heads or tails of it.


  3. Hmmmm…..is a government sponsored (although I think that is the wrong word) group having trouble with competition from small business? I do wonder what is going on but also I deeply suspect that they are just over their heads.

  4. It seems this suit is about incidences that happened several years ago, before Peter Van der Linde started his own recycling business. Then he was hauling trash. RSWA had contracted with then BFI to handle all of its waste that was brought to its transfer station in Ivy for a certain fee per ton. Anyone hauling solid waste, other than BFI, than originated in Chalbemarle, had to pay BFI a surcharge of $14 per ton that BFI was to turn over to RSWA. Trash that was delievered to the BFI site from other counties were charged an even higher rate by BFI, but I don’t believe BFI had to share any of that money with RSWA.
    RSWA has claimed that Van der Linde did not pay the $14 per ton surcharge and Van der Linde says that BFI didn’t collect it for several years. RSWA says that Van der Linde specifically told his drivers not to declare the local trash so that BFI couldn’t charge him the surcharge. That’s the RICO part. Van der Linde says, if that weas true, then he would have been paying Out-of_RSWA fees which are higher and thus to his detriment.
    Supposedly, Judge Hogshire instructed Van der Linde to turn over his trip tickets to his opposing attorneys. Van der Linde says he’s prepared to turn his computer records over to the opposition which would provide more detail on stuff like trash origin, dates and times, etc. This where the story ceases to make any sense to me (that is, if I have the facts straight).

  5. Why are they just going after Van der Linde? What about all the other trash haulers during the same time period ? I don’t understand why RSWA is suing him if he would have paid more if he’d paid tipping fees for outside the area. He had no reason to lie.

  6. And how much is this lawsuit costing taxpayers versus how much will they get from Van der Linde and the damage they will do to a private business that pays taxes and is providing a service to the community ?

  7. Something seems very “off” about this whole deal, but darned if I can put my finger on it. I do know that I’m very uncomfortable at the idea that some of my trash hauling dollars are going towards financing a lawsuit against one of our citizens.

    If I understand the story correctly, doesn’t Van der Linde have the transfer station employees on tape NOT asking about the origins of trucks coming through there? If so, that would seem to bolster his case. Also, the RSWA’s star witness seems to have serious credibility issues.

    If it turns out that this is a trumped up charge, the RSWA board needs to step down immediately and their overpaid attorney pilloried for advising them to bring the suit. I can’t even begin to comprehend how astronomical the legal fees will be for both sides.

  8. I’m not a lawyer but this appears totally trumped up on the part of RSWA. From this article they have no credible evidence against him. Even the judge says the supposed evidence the field tickets, showing where the trash came from
    ““But they’ve said they didn’t need to keep the field tickets,” said Hogshire.

    Another Van der Linde lawyer, Corban Klug, pointed out that the field tickets weren’t the “lovely” and orderly documents Blank suggested— merely drivers’ directions. He said that all the documentation about the origins of each load were available on the company’s computer, which the defense had repeatedly offered to hand over to the RSWA for a forensic analysis, so origins weren’t lost when they discarded tickets.

    “Look, you’ve got the whole package,” said Hogshire, referring to the offer to hand over the computer. “Why wouldn’t that work?

    “Blank complained that the plaintiff didn’t have the resources or the know-how to examine the computer, and he again reminded the judge about taxpayer money.”

    How can he complain about resources and know-how when it’s someone in his firm, Kurt Krueger–the RSWA lawyer, who is behind advising the board to go forward with this suit and he makes $515 an hour. Looks like RSWA has the resources to spend all the taxpayer money on anything they want –isn’t this the same organization headed by Tom Frederick that just paid Gannett Fleming over 3 million for 6 years of worthless information.

  9. It has been a mystery to me ever since I heard Van der Linde on the radio. This incident also points to the fact that the public has no say-so on the goings on at RSWA or RSWA. Why on earth would one person be hired to run both organizations in the first place? It seems both boards are lacking something or know a lot more than what they’re willing to share with the public. Of course, the people who run these entities have demonstrated many times that “money is no object.”

  10. You’re right TJ, something smells here, and I suspect it’s not the trash.

    Agreed on the money aspect, Cville Eye. Betty Mooney has asked David Brown to keep the public apprised of exactly what’s going on with this. If we’re footing the bill, then we bloody well have a right to know.

    Between the multi-million dollar Gannett Fleming debacle and this latest apparent outrage, I’ve lost all patience with these clowns. As far as I’m concerned, it’s getting close to firing time.

  11. David Brown did answer some of my questions and he does support the suit and believes that Mr. Van der Linde is not being truthful. He also said:
    ” From what I know a dirty mrf can only extract 5 – 15% as recyclables (knowing you to be a GREAT researcher, I hope you will look into it, and let me know what you discover). The City does better; it makes a big difference to separate out recyclables first (How can paper really be separated from coffee grounds and banana peels?)”

    So loyal readers am asking your help does anyone know the answer to this question ?

  12. @Betty Mooney, supposedly Van der Linde infractions against RSWA dealt with not paying the surcharge for his trash that was delivered to BFI several years ago and has nothing to do with his current recycling operations. So why is David Brown failing to separate the two discussions? Why am I not surprised that David Brown doesn’t understand this? “5 – 15%”, when did he ever learn anything about recycling?
    “…and believes that Mr. Van der Linde is not being truthful.” It’s statements like this that these “leaders” make about people that prevents me from feeling bad for calling him clueless, useless, and the biggest waste of tax payers’ money on Council. He’s making this issue about character, which is something so many members of political parties spend a great deal of time doing rather than discussing ideas. His service on Council has been sorely lacking in displaying any brains at all. Simply thinking about him can give me a queasy stomach.

  13. Another question I have is –if this is about recovery of fees why a RICO trial which means federal court, a jury, weeks of testimony. I can’t begin to imagine the expense and I know the Rivanna lawyer is paid $515 an hour. The only reason I can imagine for this move is to intimidate Mr. Van der Linde into shutting down, which is the only way apparently RSWA can survive.

    There has got to be a better way to settle this ! I am pleading with our elected officials to talk to Mr. Van der Linde and intervene with RSWA and find a mediated way out of this mess and not go to federal court which will surely ruin him and the taxpayers pocket books as well.

    I agree with Downing Smith this makes me want to cry .

  14. I have spent a pretty good amount of time researching dirty MRFs, though solely out of personal interest, and I have to admit that I’ve come to the same position as David Brown—I have significant doubts that Van der Linde’s facility can operate with anything approaching the accuracy and efficiency that he claims it can. (What that has to do with the lawsuit, I can’t say.)

    If I put a half-full kerosene can in the garbage, without a human to screen it at his facility, one of his machines is going to try to compress it with other metals. There may well be a spark from the friction of metal, and then there will be an explosion and a fire. Other problematic materials might include a can of spray paint, plastic grocery bags (they tend to tangle up recycling machinery), human waste, and medical waste. Running a MRF is a big deal. It’s not like running a soda machine or even a self-serve car wash—there’s no telling what things people are going to dump into that equipment, and it’s going to require an educated, experienced, human staff to prevent customers’ mistakes (or malice) from turning Van der Linde’s facility into a Superfund site.

    What I disagree with David about is the recovery rate. The number that he cites is on the low end, although it’s wholly plausible that Van der Linde’s recovery rate is within that range. My understanding is that direct MRFs can recover a great deal more, with nearly half of the materials being recovered in a good system.

    Conceptually, I think dirty MRFs are the way to go, and I think it’s great that Van der Linde has gotten into the business. But until he gets his facility audited by a third party, and can demonstrate that his recovery rate is on the high end, I’d prefer to keep taking my recyclables to McIntire. Their 100% recovery rate looks pretty good.

  15. Waldo I hope you’ll give Mr. Van der Linde a call given your interest in this . From talking to him I think you have some misconceptions about his operation and he said he’d love to give you a tour or anyone else who is interested. I hope you will. I think you would find it fascinating and it would be a service to the community once you have a better understanding and can share the information you learn.

    People trust you and having someone like you report on this would be a great help in clearing up some of the misunderstandings and possibly save the taxpayers a great deal of money by charting a more co-operative course between Peter and the RSWA.

  16. The RICO and conspiracy suit has nothing to do with Van der Linde’s recycling operation.
    So far, all of the elected officials on Council and BoS support RSWA’s suit to get money RSWA claims that Van der Linde has owed it for years.

  17. That Van der Linde conspired with his drivers to not declare the trash they dumped at BFI’s station besides Van der Linde’s originated in Albemarle County, to avoid paying a $14 per ton surcharge to BFI to pass on to RSWA, to the tune of several $$$M. Although RSWA was no longer actually hauling the trash itself and was paying BFI to do it, anyone hauling trash that RSWA somehow took ownership of, by jurisdiction, still had to give RWSA money to haul the trash themselves. It’s this money that was supposed to be the mainstay of RSWA’s operations and the cleanup of the Ivy Landfill. Thus, if you paid Joe Smuck of Greene County to pick up your PUD’s curbside trash and he delivered it to BFI’s station in Zion Crossroads, BFI was supposed to collect the extra $14/per and give it to RSWA anyway. I guess authorities can not be guilty of antitrust laws. Ridiculous sounding isn’t it?

  18. Thank you Cville Eye. The Hook has done an amazing job covering this, just noticed all these stories, besides the two in their current issue by Dave McNair, there are also 2 very interesting live interviews with Mr. Van der Linde on the Coy Barefoot and Rob Schilling shows at WINA linked to these stories. I hope our elected officials take the time to read and listen, but most important talk to Mr. Van der Linde personally. Often, I have found, they only get one side of the story, and with so much money at stake and beneficial re-use for the community they need to hear his side as well. Wish this had happened before they decided to sue.

    February 14, 2008–Coming soon! van der Linde’s amazing recycling machine

    July 17, 2008–Single-streamin’: Why not try private sector recycling machine?

    April 2, 2009–What a Waste: Is the trash Authority going obsolete?

    April 20, 2009–Wasted revenue? Authority realized in 2005 station didn’t track origins

    May 29, 2009–Recycle this! Van der Linde steps up tone

    August 17, 2009–Trash talkin’: Waste war could decide the future

  19. Great compilation.
    “April 20, 2009–Wasted revenue? Authority realized in 2005 station didn’t track origins” This article alone told me that there is something stinking at RSWA. For the elected officials to close ranks behind RSWA tells me they are serving the electorate. I’ve know all along though that David Brown smells like something the cat dragged in last Tuesday. Isn’t it wonderful to have such honest politicians?
    Has anyone noticed that DB always sides with “officials” rather than the public?

  20. C’ville Eye, In my view, chiropractic “medicine” is about on par with scientology and faith healing (or maybe that african guy who went to Alaska to bless Sarah Palin). It’s always blown my mind that someone who does that professionally was able to get elected in a city like this with such a generally high level of education among the public. Brown turns my stomach too and I can’t wait for him to finally be gone.

    I’m hoping for a win for Bob Fenwick in the next election. Having him and Peter Kleeman on council would be such a good thing, but I’ll take him alone for now.

  21. I think Fenwick will bring some fresh views to council and reach a part of the population who feel they are asked to pay a lot in taxes but stop putting their mouths in City Hall’s business. He’ll be able to give those people the heads up on upcoming issues rather than let them be blindsided as with McIntire Park. He can also get his point across without character decimations, preventing the ideas to be discussed. Brown is always trying to shut people up, even those with a financial interest such as those living in downtown Belmont. It was quite amusing to watch them speak at a council meeting about a month ago while Brown kept harping at Norris to shut them up. I played that section of the council’s video three times.

  22. Cville Eye– which meeting are you referring to? was it the Belmont rezoning, and if so, first or second meeting?

    I noticed that as well when he was mayor. He’d get really angry when some people spoke. They could be perfectly reasonable, but if they were presenting a different view, he seemed to resent it. Between that, and vice mayor Kendra Hamilton’s snarky condescension towards the public, it was easily one of the worst Councils in memory.

    Even though I might not agree with all of their choices, the remainder of the current lineup is much more responsive to the public. I think Brown is a really poor choice to be serving as the liason between the City and the RSWA.

  23. @VOR, it was at the July 6, 2009 Council meeting during Matters BY the Public. I believe this link will take you to the correct video: http://charlottesville.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=374
    On the drop down choose Matters… then scrub, using the little grey, round button to the right to about 33 mins. in. The Belmont resident is finishing up and a few seconds later Brown utters his first protest as civilly as he can and Norris responds. The scrub in to about 37 mins in and another resident is finishing up and Brown has had it. Norris responds to him civilly. The third speaker addresses the issue after that and Brown has nothing else to say. The elapsed time is over on the right, above the scrubber and to the left of the volume control. If you have any trouble, let me know.

  24. Wondering if anyone who has read the Hook articles linked above feels there is any reason or motivation for Van der Linde to have avoided paying the fees that RSWA alleges he avoided. I can’t find any, from what I have read, and it looks to me as if this suit is apparently about shutting him down so he cannot take away their business, not about the fees at all. Especially since they have federalized the charges with a RICO suit which is far more of a financial burden for Mr. Van der Linde to defend himself.

    Only if citizens protest the expenditure of their money on this suit will we be able to stop this. I have contacted my elected representatives and protested and I hope others will also.

  25. Dear Bloggers,

    I have to admit that one of the elements of this means of communication that bothers me is personal attacks on the character of a person. Of course politicians need a thick skin to be in office, but I think one reason more good people don’t run for office is the attacks seem more common now than before. As this relates to this blog, I, like David Brown, am a health care worker, and am sure many would feel am unqualified to serve on City Council. I may differ with David on issues, but I respect him as a person, and realize that sometimes he is right and I am wrong.
    I also know that he is among the best and most highly respected Chiropractors in Charlottesville and I never hesitate in referring my clients to him.

  26. Betty, I’m far from alone in my observation about David. It’s not meant as an attack on personal character, but as a comment on public behavior. It has been noted by many many people I know that he has frequently seemed angry at some of the people that come before Council. Ditto for Kendra Hamilton. That doesn’t mean that David isn’t a wonderful doctor, or that he isn’t a kind person in many aspects of his life. That doesn’t mean that Kendra is a bad poet or lousy scholar.

    However, when you hear, as I have, that there are citizens who have been reluctant to appear before certain Councils because they were afraid that the councilors mentioned above would be condescending to them, then I consider that a problem. The citizens who take the time out of their busy schedules (and overcome their fear of being on TV!) to come down to City Hall to participate in the process should be welcomed, not laughed at or stopped from speaking by someone making exasperated noises or rolling their eyes. Many people watch the Council meetings at home on Channel 10, and this behavior is talked about.

  27. I agree wholeheartedly with Voice O R. I know nothing about his character and don’t comment upon it. I comment about the way David Brown treats the public. It’s as though he’s a county resident planted on the City Council. Wnen he first came on Council I listened as he berated a person unfairly in a shockingly scathing way. Two other people I know avoid him like the plague because he has nasty things to say to them every time they encounter. I watch almost all of the Council meetings and have watched the way he treats people that he disagrees with.
    People that have read my posts know that I disagree with a lot of Dave Norris’ position, however, they have never heard me say anything about his character. I have agreed a lot with Brown’s postions however, he is not a servant of the public,promoting what is in the best interest of the City. If there was only one seat open for Council and the two Daves were the only candidate, I would wade through the bowels of hell to vote against Brown.
    True, political office tenure can be very unpleasant, but, I strongly feel that those who can not handle the unpleasantness should not hold office. Why? Because they can be bullied by unpleasant people.
    Also, please note, I did not put any words in David Brown’s mouth. He said them in public.
    And, if I thought I was hurting David Brown’s feelings, I would temper my words more; however, I am certain that he couldn’t care less.

  28. I think this is a good discussion, and I agree everyone should be able to comment on the behavior of those in public office and their positions, but would like it to be more courteous, just my opinion.

    I do think different people have different strengths and weaknesses. One Councilor or Supervisor who was polite to the public might be clueless about the financial or infrastructure needs of their jurisdiction, and the one with the more unpleasant personality, very smart and able to stand up to the staff and challenge them. If someone’s behavior is intimidating the public, I would hope that people would go to that official and bring that up to them. I remember when I was on the Planning Commission, I would knit to deal with my nerves and found it helped me listen better, but then Mayor Kay Slaughter came to me and said someone had told her they found a woman knitting on the PC was not professional and so I stopped. To be willing to be an elected official is extremely difficult, and I don’t see many people willing to serve. The bloggers on this site, although not identified by name, seem genuinely interested in bettering our community and I hope you will approach David Brown or any other politician whose behavior, you feel, does not further good government, and attempt to get them to change. No harm trying

  29. Darling Betty Mooney, “One Councilor or Supervisor who was polite to the public might be clueless about the financial or infrastructure needs of their jurisdiction…” EVERY councilor or supervisor ascends to office clueless about the financial or infrastructure needs of their jurisdiction. That’s how our budget increased 75% from 1998 to 2008 and that’s how the county is able to call the 50-year water supply proposal a “50-year water supply plan approved by both jurisdictions.”
    No, I will never go to David Brown about anything unless his life is in danger. I sent council an email once and he was the only one that didn’t acknowledge that he had received it. In fact he seemed quite fond of saying in the past during council meetings that he didn’t respond to email. Personally, I took this to mean he didn’t read it. I have never heard him comment about “public comment” when he’s discussing his reasons for his vote. Usually he makes it clear how he plans to vote on a issue the first night it is introduced and rarely have I seen him change it. He serves himself on council.
    BTW, I once attended an in-service for teachers and it was amazing the number of people knitting, crocheting and doing needlepoint. They seemed quite adept at asking questions or having discussions without stopping their work. Now, that’s professional and would not have had any problem talking to the PC while the members knitted.

  30. There is another option for dealing with Councilors that citizens feel are not fit for office –a recall election, and that is always possible. Personally, to get back on topic, I feel any politician, who would use taxpayer money, to sue Van der Linde in what appears to be an attempt by RSWA to shut him down for competing with them, should be removed from office. So now that the Hook, through their thorough investigating , including using Freedom of Information requests, has shown, I believe, that there is no evidence against him that would hold up in court, it is imperative for our elected officials to stop this suit. If they don’t then the citizens should seriously think of removing those that support, what I feel is, a misuse of taxpayer dollars.

  31. I didn’t know had a recall statute.
    At the time the initail suit there were not elected officials on RSWA. In fact botrh the BoS and Council said they found out about the suit from the media. RSWA and RWSA obviously still feel they are an authority unto themselves. They were set up the way they were set up because our elected politicians didn’t want to have to deal with these matters.

  32. Without the Hook’s reporting this probably would have remained hidden from the public. You’re right the other officials found out about this from the media. Now that we have elected officials on the board we need to hold them responsible for what happens with our money and request public briefings in front of their elected bodies. I plan to ask that David Brown give such a briefing to the public and I hope county people will request that Ken Boyd, their representative on the board do the same.

  33. Cville Eye , I don’t know for sure if there is a recall provision for elected officials, but am assuming there must be some grounds for doing this.

  34. For the record, Virginia does not have a recall election process. Virginia is the only state in the union with recall trials, with the law stating that the elected official must be guilty of “neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office.” (Or that, strangely, the elected official has been convicted of selling drugs or of a committing a hate crime.) Citizens have to get a petition with as many signatures as come to 10% of the votes cast in the prior election, and then it’s turned over to the court, who tries that official to determine whether they have violated the law.

    It seems to me that if somebody is subject to a recall trial in Virginia, you know it.

  35. That’s the kind of trial I would like to observe. I can not imagine it. Thanks Waldo for taking the time.

  36. Thank you Waldo, does anyone know if RSWA will have to pay court costs for Mr. Van der Linde if they lose the RICO suit? I’ve heard his costs could run in the half million dollar range. If that’s true, and you add the expenses from McGuire Woods Battle, the law firm representing RSWA, this could easily cost taxpayers over a million in legal fees.

  37. Betty, I shudder to think what form those briefings might take. Brown, Boyd, et al are surely going to say this is all confidential because of the pending suit. It’s doubtful that Keesecker, who also now represents the nascent Fluvanna/Louisa Authority (called James River) would allow it.

    I can’t help but think back to the community meetings over the last two years in Fluvanna/Louisa and remember the extreme worry the citizens had regarding their own counties setting up an authority like ours. They fought it hard, and had well over 1000 signatures on a petition, but were shut down on a technicality. The Fluvanna Co attorney, who is ironically a Cville resident, wielded the biggest cudgel against the people there. It was a very chilling thing to witness, and I’ve thought of them often since then.

    It’s to be assumed that most of them read what’s going on in our news here in Cville. I wonder if the antics of our RWSA/RSWA are a cautionary tale for them of what happens when authorities like these are not accountable to the will of the people.

  38. Non-district waste is currently $49 per ton at Allied Waste, representing a savings of $13 per ton over the $62 per ton R.S.W.A. rates.

  39. That’s amazing –Krueger is also the attorney for the Fluvanna Water Authority — WOW ! –he’s making $515 for RWSA and who knows how much for RSWA maybe the same and his firm is raking in the bucks against Van der Linde –guess we’re getting them through the recession aren’t we —

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