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EDA’s request for legal fees denied

23 January 2020 Front Royal/Warren County News

A request for $36,827 to fund the Front Royal-Warren County EDA board members’ legal fees was denied by the Warren County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting.

14 current and former board members were charged in September 2019 for alleged lack of oversight of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald. The charges, however, were dismissed by Circuit Court Judge Bruce D. Albertson because he said misfeasance and nonfeasance are not crimes in Virginia.

The supervisors voted to fund four current and former supervisors’ and two court officials’ $49,922 in legal expenses in November of 2019.

Resident Paul Gabbert said during a public comment period that people were not happy to discover the supervisors funded the legal fees in November, adding that as taxpayers, they shouldn’t have to pay for these attorneys.

The motion to not fund the legal fees passed with a 4-1 vote.

Supervisor Delores Oates said she cannot commit taxpayer money to the legal fees without understanding how it impacts the county’s overall budget forecast for the upcoming fiscal year. Oates added that it “would be foolish” to provide the legal fees when there is no telling how much the county will have to support the EDA as it nears insolvency.

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