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Shenandoah County responds to regional jail lawsuit


By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors denies they needed a voter referendum to borrow millions of dollars to build a regional jail in Warren County.

Toms Brook resident Mark Prince filed a complaint in Shenandoah County Circuit Court in early July asking a judge to void the financing for the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail, currently under construction on U.S. 340-522 in Warren County.

Prince argues that state code requires the local governing body, when seeking to borrow large sums of money, to put the question on the ballot as a referendum for the voters.

County Attorney J. Jay Litten filed a response with the court Monday in response to Prince's claims and asked the court to dismiss the complaint.

"The Board further states that it took all measures legally required before adopting the [RSW Regional Jail] Service Agreement," the answer states.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp addressed the case for the first time in the court Thursday. Prince appeared for himself though he has retained attorney Bradley Pollack as legal counsel. The complaint identifies the county, the RSW Regional Jail Authority board, the Virginia Resources Authority and SunTrust Bank as defendants in the case. Litten appeared for the board of supervisors. Robert Hodges represents the VRA. No attorneys appeared for either the jail authority board or SunTrust.

Hupp set the next hearing date for Sept. 27 to address the complaint and any responses filed by the defendants.

The RSW Regional Jail Authority Board sought moral obligation bonds in the amount of more than $80 million, through SunTrust Bank and the Virginia Resources Authority. Prince, a long-time, vocal opponent of the jail and other Shenandoah County projects, claims in the complaint that the supervisors did not put the borrowing issue on the ballot as a referendum for the voters. As such, according to Prince, the court should nullify the bond issuance as the jail authority borrowed the money without the consent of the voters.

Litten states that if the complaint refers to the RSW Regional Service Agreement then the supervisors deny any referendum was required. The board of supervisors did not need to give its approval of the bonds issued by regional jail authority bonds, according to Litten. The board did enact a resolution in support of the authority's issuance of the bonds and entered into an agreement endorsing the action, Litten notes.

"The Board affirmatively alleges that its actions with respect to the Service Agreement and the funding of the regional jail have been lawful in all respects," the answer states.

The board "denies that the bonds are either 'null' or 'void.'" The board denies most other allegations in Prince's complaint, according to Litten's response.

The answer goes on to state that the board denies that Prince "has the lawful right to represent others as expressed [in] the Complaint' opening paragraph." Likewise, Litten states the board denies the allegation that it guaranteed the bond issued by the jail authority as claimed in the complaint.




18 Comments



You people in Shenandoah county are really peeing us off in Warren County. Doug Stanlley and the boys on the regional jail committee are really getting tired of your games. We are thinking of taking legal action again against you trouble makers and you should be getting your IRS audit notification shortly. I also heard that the committee was considering assessing a special" trouble makers fee" to Shenandoah County to cover all the extra costs you caused us. I know that will go over big in your neck of the woods.

Hasn't this already been explained to Mr Prince...the jail authority is not a taxing body therefore it did not need a voter referendum? I understand that anyone can initiate a law suit and the validity of such law suit will be determined by the system, But there should be some personal responsibility when that suit has the potential to cost the tax payers money. I don't recall voting for Mark Prince to speak for me.

I am sorry if folks in Shenandoah County are trying to look out for the best interest for the citizens of Shenandoah County. Question for you, how many jobs will be offered to the citizens of each county that will be paying into this jail?

Amen to that justwondering!!! Well said!!!!

We get everything, jobs, revenue , prestige, all funded by the other counties. The citizens of Warren County thank you. Please get your people under control so that we can start the money flowing. We have several other projects on the books that we would like for the counties to help fund.

Statistics show us and will be the case with RSW regional jail, hiring will come from far off not local. State wide so many prisons and jails have closed forever. A new Superintendent will have the luxury of hiring the most experienced from folks laid off from the closings. What Warren county will benefit from the most will be lots of new bail bond offices, new faces from new locales shopping for prisoner amenities. Don't be shocked at the gang types and roughnecks that just flock to Warren county neighborhoods to rent and stay close to their family members and friends. A new breed of people you will wish you never heard of, from northern VA.

If the jail is not a taxing authority and didn't need voter approval, who exactly is holding the bag when it comes time to make the payments?

Shruntzm,
Goodness I forgot about the riff-raff the jail will bring – -Still, let us be fair – it does appear that the powers at be with Warren County tend to lean towards dishonest - push what they want regardless of “if the people” agree– This is my opinion folks!

Stubie, See, lie and deny Warren County does… Good questions you have.. Someone has to foot the bill -

Not just WC - but all involved.

Shruntzm, thank you. I have been somewhat sarcastic with my posts. You pointed out what many of us in Warren County feel. We were continually told all the wonderful benefits which boils down to what you said. We questioned the real benefits, location, and impact on the community. It was pushed through by a small group of administrators and elected officials that wanted the prestige more than what is logical and good for the community. Why would the jail be located in the prime residential ,retail ,and commercial area for the County? Whereas Mr Prince has the right to question without fear of being threaten with legal action, he missed the timing window to really have an impact on this project. The arrogance of the elected officials and committee members are unbelievable and forgetting who they work for at the end of the day.

"The arrogance of the elected officials and committee members are unbelievable and forgetting who they work for at the end of the day".

It seems these "elected officials" have learned well. They see our federal government treating us like second rate citizens and they figure they will do the same.

We had better start paying attention to what the big boys are up to because we are losing ground rapidly. Not only must we raise a little hell; we need to let them hear us loud and clear: many of us are fed up with the status quo!

The taxpayers who did not get to vote will be paying the bill, and if it did not require a vote it should have. There should be a law to protect taxpayers. It is pure communism.

Wow, we must have hit a nerve. They pulled this story off their web site very quickly. Too many questions being brought up without Good answers. Certain people don't like this

I think you are right, Unreeldeel. I notice the garden variety left/right bickering is allowed to go on for days but the RSW Jail stories are quickly moved to the back room when the comments begin to question the legality and cost of the jail.

I just remember that there is a jail up near Lake Frederick. I'm not 110 percent sure if that place is still open. But If it wasn't in operation, wouldnt that be a great place for a new jail, probaby has most of it's things it neeeds.

I am really disappointed to see that the NVD has pulled this story off the main web site. It was starting to get interesting with some interesting questions being asked with no response from the committee members.

Are county taxpayers on the hook for these funds? A simple yes or no will suffice. We already know you can dance.



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