Transparency News 10/30/19



October 30, 2019


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Contact us at


state & local news stories


"[A Suffolk school board member said] he felt unprepared to vote on matters before the board because members had only received the agenda packets earlier that day."

A $1.7 million defamation lawsuit filed against C-Ville Weekly, reporter Lisa Provence, and University of Virginia professor and activist Jalane Schmidt was thrown out Monday afternoon. A March article on the 13 parties who filed a lawsuit over Charlottesville’s Confederate statues rankled plaintiff Edward Dickenson Tayloe II. The article described the Tayloe family as “one of the largest slave-owning dynasties in Virginia.” The article also includes a quote from Jalane Schmidt: “For generations this family has been roiling the lives of black people, and this is what [plaintiff Tayloe] chooses to pursue.” Tayloe filed suit, claiming that being portrayed as a racist caused him emotional distress, humiliation, professional and business harm. But Judge Claude Rowwell granted the demurrer motion, stating neither the article nor the quote qualified as libel. He also pointed out that Tayloe became a public figure when he joined the lawsuit.

The case of the missing Radford University Tartans remains without a culprit, but details are emerging about administrative displeasure with the school newspaper’s front-page photo. Emails obtained by The Roanoke Times show administrators — including President Brian Hemphill — weren’t happy with the cover of the Sept. 18 edition. A photo accompanying a news obituary on school Criminal Justice Department Chairman Steve Tibbetts depicted him and his daughter in front of a street sign bearing their last name. The street is marked as a dead end. That upset administrators. Tartan staffers said Tibbetts’ widow provided the photo. Tartain Editor-in-Chief Dylan Lepore said papers missing from a few racks wouldn’t have raised eyebrows, but staff members concluded that approximately 1,000 of 1,500 copies of the edition were gone from as many as 22 of 32 racks around campus in less than 24 hours.
The Roanoke Times

After receiving criticism for appointing Front Royal Interim Mayor Matt Tederick as the soon-to-be interim town manager, councilmen defended their decision. After exiting a closed session on Monday, the council approved Tederick’s contract by a 5-1 vote with Councilman Eugene Tewalt dissenting. Tederick confirmed over the phone Tuesday that he will earn a $12,500 monthly salary and a $300 monthly car allowance, adding that he will work on a contractual basis and not be a town employee. The contract will become effective Nov. 9 with a July 1 end date.
The Northern Virginia Daily

The Suffolk School Board’s Policy Review Committee is looking to ensure that agendas get to the board and public in a timely manner. Board Vice Chairwoman Dr. Judith Brooks-Buck, who along with Sherri Story serves on the committee, noted that agendas typically have been provided to the board and to the public a week ahead of time. But with an illness in the family of the board’s clerk, Cynthia Chavis — who has since resigned — she had not been able to get those out in a timely manner, and, at the board’s last regular meeting earlier in October, Tyron Riddick noted that he felt unprepared to vote on matters before the board because members had only received the agenda packets earlier that day.
Suffolk News-Herald