FRONT ROYAL – The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority on Monday will consider a resolution seeking $36,827 of county money to fund seven current and former EDA board members' legal fees related to dismissed legal misdemeanor charges.
In September, former EDA board members Greg Drescher, Bruce Drummond, William Biggs and Ron Llewellyn and current board members Dr. Thomas Patteson, Gray Blanton and Mark Baker were charged on misdemeanor counts of misfeasance and nonfeasance for their alleged lacking oversight of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, who has been charged on 32 felony counts related to alleged financial improprieties during her tenure at the authority.
In a civil lawsuit, the EDA has accused McDonald as being the driving force behind $21.3 million worth of embezzlement and questionable deals.
In October, Judge Bruce D. Albertson dismissed the charges because misfeasance and nonfeasance are not crimes in Virginia.
The entire Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Doug Stanley and former County and EDA Attorney Dan Whitten were charged on the same counts, which were also dismissed.
In November, the supervisors approved using $49,922 of county money to fund the legal fees of Stanley, Whitten and four of the five supervisors.
Supervisor Tom Sayre - who paid for his own lawyer - served as the lone vote against using county money for the legal defenses.
An agenda for the EDA’s 6 p.m. Monday meeting at the Virginia Inland Port states that if the resolution is passed, the EDA would ask the county for $36,827 to fund the legal defenses of its current and former board members. That includes $4,727 for Baker, $5,000 for Biggs, $4,665 for Blanton, $3,000 for Drummond, $4,625 for Llewellyn, $10,000 for Drescher and $4,809 for Patteson.
EDA Chairman Ed Daley said over the phone that the resolution essentially states if the county funds the legal fees, the EDA will pay them. He added that the EDA anticipates that the fees would ultimately be refunded.
Supervisors Dan Murray and Tony Carter declined to comment while Sayre said he will vote against using county money to fund the EDA board members’ legal defenses.
"No - I think the EDA board was negligent and I was lied to, bullied and blocked by the board. Absolutely not," Sayre said.
Supervisors Linda Glavis and Archie Fox could not be reached.