FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors has opted to allow the incoming board, which will include three new members, to decide whether current and former Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority board members will be reimbursed with county money for their personal legal fees.
On Monday night, the EDA board approved a resolution seeking $36,827 from the county to fund seven current and former board members’ legal fees related to their misdemeanor counts of misfeasance and nonfeasance, which were dismissed last month because the charges did not represent actual crimes.
EDA Chairman Ed Daley previously explained that the resolution states that if the county will fund the legal fees, the EDA will pay for them.
EDA Treasurer Marjorie Martin voted against the resolution, saying the county should pay for the fees without the money filtering through the EDA.
“As a treasurer, I don’t believe that this money should come back through the EDA...it’s not that I don’t want them to get the money, I just don’t feel the process was correct,” she said.
She added that the incoming Board of Supervisors should vote on the matter.
The EDA board members’ charges were handed up by a special grand jury that has been investigating potential financial improprieties within the entire local government for about eight months. Others criminally charged include former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and her husband Samuel North, former EDA Administrative Assistant Michelle Henry, former B&G Goods Store owner William Lambert and local businessman Donald Poe.
The entire Board of Supervisors and two county officials were indicted on the same misdemeanor counts as the EDA board. Those charges were also dismissed.
Last month, the supervisors approved using $49,922 of county money to pay their legal fees. Tom Sayre was the lone supervisor who funded his legal expenses.
The $36,827 being sought by the EDA includes $4,727 for Mark Baker; $4,665 for Gray Blanton; $4,809 for Dr. Thomas Patteson; $5,000 for William Biggs; $3,000 for Bruce Drummond; $10,000 for Greg Drescher; and $4,625 for Ron Llewellyn.
Baker, Blanton and Patteson are still board members while the others are no longer on the board.
Sayre made the motion to delay the vote until Jan. 7, at which point three new board members — Walter Mabe, Cheryl Cullers and Delores Oates — will be in office.
Mabe, Cullers and Oates declined on Monday to say how they would vote.