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Jail lawsuit appealed to state high court

By Alex Bridges

The Supreme Court of Virginia may decide to hear a complaint over the financing of the area's next regional jail.

But attorneys representing the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, the Virginia Resources Authority and the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail Authority claim the case remains baseless and the high court should not grant the petition for an appeal.

Toms Brook resident Mark Prince has disputed the legality of the action by the supervisors to issue bonds for the $80 million project under construction in Warren County. Prince asked the court to declare the RSW Regional Jail Authority service agreement, the bonds for the project, and a SunTrust bank note null and void.

Prince fought the financing action in Shenandoah County Circuit Court but the judge at a hearing Sept. 27 ruled in favor of the defendants and dismissed the case with prejudice.

Prince, represented by Woodstock attorney Bradley Pollack, appealed the decision to the state high court. Prince has asked the court to reverse the decision and remand the case back to the lower court.

Pollack states in the petition for appeal that the lower court erred on numerous grounds. For example, Pollack argues the court erred by sustaining the demurrer to the plaintiff's claim that the county "resolved to support long-term indebtedness that had not been approved by the voters." Pollack also argues the court erred by sustaining the demurrer to the appellant's claim that "the bonds issued pursuant to the unconstitutional RSW Regional Jail Authority Service Agreement are necessarily invalid."

Pollack claims the bonds for the project were issued contrary to the power granted by the Virginia Resources Authority Board.

Richmond attorney Robert L. Hodges argues in his opposition to the petition for appeal that the case lacks any grounds and that the lower court made no errors as alleged.

Hodges refutes the appellant's arguments that the trial court erred by sustaining the pleas that the challenges to the bond issues came more than 30 days after the Board of Supervisors adopted resolutions authorizing the debt. The court also did not err when it overruled the plaintiff's arguments that the defense court should require production of the bonds.

The trial court did not err when it ruled that the plaintiff failed to state a claim on which it could grant relief because the regional jail authority and the VRA are not subject to certain rules under the Virginia Constitution. Another claim of error is factually incorrect because, as Hodges states, the regional jail authority issued the note for the financing of the project not the county supervisors.

Hodges states the plaintiff's "assignments of error are inadequate to bring this case properly before the [Supreme] Court."

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


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