23 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by jwgartin
Patch Instagram photo by jwgartin

York Admits Error, Denies Delgaudio Cover Up

Speakers at town hall meeting critical of Loudoun board chairman’s actions.

York Admits Error, Denies Delgaudio Cover Up York Admits Error, Denies Delgaudio Cover Up York Admits Error, Denies Delgaudio Cover Up

After canceling a meeting set to focus on the investigation of Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) for work he asked his aides to do, County Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) took an earful from residents concerned with his handling of the complaint against Delgaudio.

The primary concern centers on when York received documents related to the complaint and why he did not turn them over to a special prosecutor in the spring. That special prosecutor is examining the complaint once again, this time with the full package of documents Delgaudio’s former aide provided to the county.

York told a gathering at the County Administration Building in Leesburg Tuesday night he had no idea when the investigation would wrap up, but that a similar investigation conducted in the past took about six months.

In the meantime, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors has suspended its investigation of possible violations of board policy.

“I’m not trying to cover this up,” York said early in the meeting, providing a chronological listing of his recollection the investigation.

The error York acknowledges is that he did not turn over document provided to him to the special prosecutor in the spring. The prosecutor said she lacked information to find wrongdoing at that time.

“What I’m trying to wrap my head around is why you wouldn’t turn over all the documents,” said Paul Siker.

“This is where I need to apologize to everybody in the public,” York said, adding that, “my simple mind simply thought” the prosecutor would talk to the aide and obtain the same documents before making a determination. “But that clearly didn’t happen. I respect the fact that many of you don’t like how I’ve handled this.”

One speaker said they found it “incredulous” that York would not turn the documents over right from the start.

In September, York said, he reviewed the documents again “and found something I simply did not see previously.” He would not describe it, but said it raised concerns and involved “conduct of such a nature that was not inside the office, but outside the office.”

Local activist Phyllis Randall wondered why York held the town hall meeting on a holiday week when families are busy preparing to head out on the busiest travel day of the year.

Several residents wondered why Delgaudio had not been stripped of his committee duties; he participated in the Finance/Government Services and Operations Committee meeting earlier in the day when new policies for aides were discussed.

York is a Republican turned Independent turned Republican again. He rejoined the party last year when he ran for reelection, which put him in the position of endorsing Delgaudio, with whom he often butted heads. One speaker asked if York regretted that endorsement.

“I regret a lot of things in life,” York said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

Debbie Piland, who ran for school board last year, told York, “I think it takes guts to come out here tonight,” but continued to press him about the timeline of what he knew and what actions he took.

At times, speakers quizzed York interrogation-style, as if trying to catch discrepancies in his story.

And Delgaudio’s investigation was not the only subject. Residents also peppered York with questions about the Loudoun Hounds ballpark move to One Loudoun and the placement of HS-8, the next Ashburn high school, in Lansdowne.

York also said he was trying to follow the advice of the county attorney by not jumping the gun on Delgaudio.

“Most board members have received a call from me to remove the operational funding from his office,” York said, but he was advised against such a move.

The board’s finance committee has proposed new changes that would restrict supervisors’ aides from working privately or on a campaign for their supervisor.

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