Transparency News, 7/21/20


July 21, 2020
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state & local news stories
Martinsville City Attorney Eric Monday has declined to produce documents requested by the attorney for a businessman Monday targeted in a cease-and-desist letter regarding a personal conversation with a member of Martinsville City Council. Attorney Tim Anderson of Virginia Beach is seeking documents under the Freedom of Information Act that addressed communication among Monday and council members about Ray Reynolds, a Collinsville businessman and photographer who hired Anderson after Monday threatened him last month with a lawsuit and possible imprisonment. The Martinsville Bulletin also filed a request for the documents. Anderson demanded Monday turn over copies of any and all communication from the city manager and council authorizing him to execute a cease-and-desist demand to Reynolds on city letterhead. Monday, who also is the assistant city manager, responded by saying he knew of no documents that exist other than the minutes of a meeting on July 14, after Anderson’s request, in which City Council endorsed Monday’s letter to Reynolds. “The minutes of that meeting have yet not been produced by the clerk of council, nor have they been approved by council,” Monday wrote. “I will forward them to you when they are.” Monday wrote that there were nine text message exchanges and one email exchange between himself and Bowles and then declined to produce them, citing attorney-client privilege.
Martinsville Bulletin

What did it cost Richmond to secure the resignation of embattled former police Chief William Smith? $85,477 in severance pay, according to the city’s Department of Human Resources. Mayor Levar Stoney asked for Smith’s resignation last month, as his administration and the police department Smith led faced mounting criticism for its handling of protests that began in the city in late May. The payout adds to more than $2 million in costs the city has incurred responding to the demonstrations, including overtime, equipment and property damage. The total cost is not yet known.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

A motion for a police investigation into a $17,800 discrepancy in county records died due to a lack of a second during the Carroll County Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) July 6 meeting. Carroll County EDA member Mandi McCraw made the motion after discovering a 2018 deed for county property sold to Don Branscome. While the county received a check for $90,200 for the property, the deed shows that original figure marked out, and replaced in hand writing with $108,000. The EDA had discussed the topic in a previous meeting, but McCraw brought it up again at the July 6 meeting when a member of the county’s GIS department “approached me out of the blue and brought me the original deed.” Thomas asked if anyone had the minutes from the meeting where the transaction was initially discussed by the EDA. McCraw said she had them. The meeting was held on Feb. 5, 2018 and the transaction with Branscome is discussed under an item titled, ‘Land Resolution.’
The Carroll News