WOOSTOCK – Weeks after a final order was entered in a civil case involving the mayor of Strasburg and a petition for his removal, the mayor and his attorney filed a notice of appeal to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Virginia last month.
Strasburg residents filed a petition to remove Richard Orndorff Jr. from office in September in a bid that ultimately failed before the court on Jan. 3. The months-long back and forth that involved Orndorff hiring Phil Griffin II to represent him in the matter in Shenandoah County Circuit Court resulted in a legal bill of almost $18,000 that Orndorff may not be able to pay.
The mayor is involved in several other matters in the Circuit Court and was found indigent, resulting in the court appointing an attorney to represent him. Orndorff testified that he and his wife have little regular income and have amassed more than $1 million in medical debt after he was injured in a motor vehicle accident in May. That accident, when Orndorff was suspected of driving under the influence, is one of the charges he faces in Circuit Court.
In November Griffin argued that the town of Strasburg should be responsible for Orndorff’s attorney fees, pointing to a botched filing deadline and poorly worded language in the petition. When the commonwealth failed to file a rebuttal to Griffin’s claim, he argued that no response was an endorsement of his claim.
On. Jan. 3, Judge Alexander Iden ruled that Strasburg was responsible for some of Orndorff’s fees but wrote that Griffin’s bill overestimated the amount of time and resources that needed to be spent on the case. Iden ruled that Strasburg needed to pay Griffin $2,700 for his time.
Griffin appealed the final order, arguing that the court did not consider the time he spent traveling for research and precedents set by other courts.
In his order on Jan. 24, Iden again denied Griffin’s request for attorney fees, noting that “all of these same arguments and circumstances were fully considered in the court’s final order of January 3, 2020.”
Representatives for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, representing petitioners, did not appear at the Jan. 24 hearing.
On Jan. 29, Griffin filed a notice of appeal with the Shenandoah County Circuit Court announcing his plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia the order Iden entered on Jan. 3. According to the notice, Griffin plans to file a statement of facts, testimony and other incidents within 60 days.
In an email to the Northern Virginia Daily, Griffin wrote that the appeal is based on the same objections he filed with the court last month.