Sussex County Schools violate VA FOIA twice, lie about it

For the past several weeks, I have been trying to get a FOIA request answered from the Sussex County Schools Division. Their efforts at trying to obstruct and make excuses about their failures under the law, has led me to decide to take them to General District Court.

The paperwork necessary for this will be filed soon.

At issue was a simple request to look at specifications and/or manuals in the construction of the new school in the division. There is evidence that material substitution took place, meaning that non-approved materials were substituted for what the plans called for.

The school division seems to want to keep this quiet for some reason, and the warranty on the construction ends for good on August 31, 2014.

When non-approved materials are used in construction, it is for a reason. Money is saved in the process and that money goes somewhere. The materials called for in the plans in this case are a lot more expensive than their supposed substitute. Meaning the taxpayers of Sussex County will be left footing the bill for someone’s cover-up of irregularities in the construction of the school.

The money difference could have been spent elsewhere in the construction, or something else could have happened to it. I have no idea. I just know the school division wants to keep everything a big secret. To obstruct and waste time in the administration of the public’s business is like lying to a partner. We trust the government to do the right thing.

And that is why the FOIA law exists. To root out the truth from public bodies that would tell you one thing and do another while you are not looking.

Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran implicated in alleged irregularities in 2008 election

Moran and Herring in January of 2009

Moran and Herring in January of 2009

I am this week filing a complaint with the State Board of Elections (SBE), Commonwealth of Virginia, for the irregularities found surrounding the resignation of Brian Moran from the House of Delegates to run for Governor and the election of Charnielle Herring as his replacement in December of 2008. (HOD46)

My only real question is why nobody says a word about the allegations. The evidence will not just go away somehow.

For more information, start here. The articles are self evident by title.

Fred Hudson provides confirmation of ‘rigged’ election in VA-46 HOD race in 2008

Fred Hudson, 2nd Chair of the Virginia Democratic Party, confirmed my assertion that the election in 2008 involving Brian Moran, Charnielle Herring and Ariel Gonzales, was actually fixed like I claimed it was. He also asserted there was no breach of law. This was contained in an email exchange where I was asking Mr. Hudson questions about operations of the party, and which ultimately lead him to email me to tell me to stop tweeting or nobody from the party would answer anything.

“On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM, Fred Hudson <fredwhudson@yahoo.com> wrote:

Mark, you need to stop the tweeting. That is really hurting your cause, and anyone wanting to engage with you. If you persist, there is simply nothing I can do. Fred”

This is the third piece of the puzzle that puts the questions about this out of reach. We have a party official confirming it in an email to me, a situation where donations were given to the non-candidate on January 8, 2008. That is roughly 11 months before the “special” election to replace Moran. And it is 7 months plus until a committee is formed by Herring to run for the HOD District 46 seat, held by a Democratic Party leader, who was running for Governor. (Brian Moran) Many people and PACS even, donated before there was a campaign, before there was a vacancy from a party leader.

From: Mark Brooks
To: Fred Hudson <fredwhudson@yahoo.com>;
Subject: Hello

Hello,

Can you tell me why the party has no Executive Director yet?

As I am sure you are aware, we have work to do, and I am at a loss to explain to anyone why the party has no Director. The midterm elections are less than 7 months away, and there is lots of work to do.

Also, I would like to know the pricing structure of VAN voter files for local candidates. The last time I checked, the price was heavily in favor of localities that have larger populations. Smaller counties and other entities candidates have paid a lot of money for records.

However, I notice that Charnielle Herring bought her voter file in October of 2008 for a little less than $500 (before anyone knew she was a candidate, or that there was a need for one).

Evidently, her campaign committee formed the day after the convention in Denver in 2008, for an office that wasn’t vacant. Strange how that happened. I am sure Mr Gonzales was appreciative of the sandbag job. Disgusting backroom politics by Brian Moran and Ms. Herring.

Robert Dempsey, the Executive Director of the party, has refused to talk to me or allow his employees at the party (except one) to talk with me. He seems to think these crimes will just disappear into the ether like some sort of magic.

April 15, 2014
From: Fred Hudson <fredwhudson@yahoo.com>;
To:  Mark Brooks
2. The fact that Brian Moran tipped off Charnielle Herring in Aug of 2008 so she could prepare for December, thereby circumventing the democratic process. Mr. Gonzales never had a chance. I will continue to talk about this story until I hear answers.
There was no breach of the lawso it becomes a personal point of dissatisfaction for you.  I understand you attitude, but you have the right to express your personal opinion and vote accordingly.  Other than that, you really have no recourse as there was no breach of the law.
(emphasis mine)

So there really is only one person that could have known for sure whether he was going to resign in December 2008. That is Brian Moran, the current Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security in Virginia. He hasn’t made a comment.

*See previous articles for the way this fits in with the rest of the evidence.

VA NOW PAC donates to Charnielle Herring 7 months before a committee formed in 2008

As I mentioned in a previous article, there were several organizations and individuals who gave freely of their money, at some point to a non-candidate by definition, and sometimes after the committee to elect Charnielle Herring was formed in late August and before there was a vacancy or reason to file.

All of the information I am cataloguing will go to the State Board of Elections, in Richmond, where I am filing a complaint about election irregularities in the December election of Herring to replace Brian Moran. Moran is now the Commissioner of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia NOW PAC, of Falls Church, VA was one such organization. I am unaware who headed that organization at the time.

Granted, the donation wasn’t a lot, but it was still given with the idea of electing someone. Someone who was running a campaign without a committee, without a treasurer or Statement of Organization, all violations of Virginia Code.

At the time, January 4, 2008, there was no vacancy in the 46th District. It was occupied by Brian Moran, a party leader and a leader for Democrats in the House. An erstwhile candidate for Governor.

Other donations were given before the campaign became public, and during 4 months of ‘secrecy’ between late August and the “surprise”of Charnielle Herring when Moran announced his resignation in December.

This is what Sussex County thinks is an acceptable citizen trash dropoff point

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Allied-WM violations 4 Allied-WM violations 6 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Allied-WM violations 5

The night photos above were taken last night, June 24,2014.

The sides of the containers are five feet eight inches. More than enough to prevent even someone who is on crutches from dumping their trash. Sussex County Administrator Tom Harris will tell you he needs to ask Allied Waste about any changes made or improvements undertaken. This is the facility hidden next to the Cabin Point Rd. Landfill. No signs, inadequate lighting.

I told Mr. Harris that he runs the county, not Allied Waste/Waste Management.

Unacceptable from a health and disabled access standpoint.