FRONT ROYAL – Interim Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Layton explained Wednesday that the misfeasance and nonfeasance charges filed against 14 county officials are class one misdemeanors punishable by up to 12 months in jail and or a fine up to $2,500.

Those charged on two counts of misfeasance and one count of nonfeasance include county supervisors, government employees and members of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. A special grand jury investigating government bodies in the EDA case indicted the 14 people on Friday.

According to the indictments, the officials “did unlawfully and negligently commit misfeasance by not properly exercising his/her powers of appointment, and removal, of "the EDA’s former executive director Jennifer McDonald, who stands charged on 28 felony counts stemming from alleged embezzlement perpetrated during her tenure at the authority.

According to the EDA’s bylaws, the county appoints the EDA’s board members. Although the county provides operating funds to the authority, the EDA’s executive director is hired by and considered an employee of the authority’s board.

McDonald served as executive director for about 10 years and resigned in December.  Her resignation came about two months after the EDA commissioned a forensic audit of the authority's finances. That audit has been funded by the county although EDA officials have previously said the authority will make its best effort to pay back the county.  

The indictments state that one count of misfeasance occurred “on or about” Sept. 1, 2018, through Sept. 25, 2018.

McDonald keeping her job during that time, according to an indictment, resulted in the “unlawful diversion of more than $300,000 in public funds.”

Allowing McDonald to remain employed at the EDA from Oct. 20, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2018, according to an indictment, resulted in a $9,000 loss of public funds. It is during that time frame that the EDA's forensic audit states McDonald, using the authority's money, paid her personal attorney Lee Berlik $10,000. 

The officials committed nonfeasance, according to an indictment, “by failing to act to limit or restrict the powers, responsibilities, and access to the public financial resources of [McDonald].”

There is no more information available in courthouse records regarding the nature of the charges.

Regarding the claimed monetary losses listed in the indictments, Layton said he could comment on how that money was lost but more information may surface during the first hearings in all of the cases on Friday.

The 14 people indicted on Friday are:

  • EDA board member Mark A. Baker, 53, of Front Royal. 
  • Former EDA treasurer of 30 years William M. Biggs, 77, of Front Royal. 
  • EDA board member Gray Blanton, 72, of Front Royal. 
  • County Supervisor Tony F. Carter, 59, of Linden. 
  • Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher, 59, of Middletown. 
  • Former EDA board member Bruce N. Drummond, 68, of Linden. 
  • County Supervisor Archie A. Fox, 78, of Strasburg. 
  • County Supervisor Linda P. Glavis, 75, of Front Royal. 
  • Former EDA board member Ronald L. Llewellyn, 66, of Front Royal. 
  • County Supervisors Chairman Daniel J. Murray Jr., 72, of Middletown. 
  • EDA Treasurer Thomas E. Patteson III, 73, of Front Royal. 
  • County Supervisor Thomas H. Sayre, 54, of Front Royal. 
  • County Administrator Douglas P. Stanley, 50, of Front Royal. 
  • Former county EDA and county attorney Daniel N. Whitten, 36, of Front Royal. 

– Contact Josh Gully at jgully@nvdaily.com