Transparency News 8/8/19



August 8, 2019


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Contact us at


state & local news stories


Virginia Beach’s police chief said while the criminal investigation into the Municipal Center mass shooting is nearly complete, the full findings may not be made public initially. “Once we are complete, we will be able to release some of the findings but we are working closely with the independent investigators and do not want to be perceived as influencing anything they are doing,” said Chief James Cervera, of the Virginia Beach Police Department. In the meantime, Cervera said the department will continue to meet with Hillard Heintze, the firm hired to conduct an independent investigation into the tragedy. City Auditor Lyndon Remias, however, pointed out that the firm has never requested the police hold off on releasing anything to his knowledge. “The independent investigators are working independently and they are forming their own opinions and certainly we don’t want them to be influenced in regards to whether [the chief] is going to release his report or not,” Remias said.

Meeting for the first time Wednesday since its highly unusual vote to remove Janice Wheaton, who was elected to the Amherst Town Council last November, council appointed an interim member. Since she was the only applicant, council and Mayor Dwayne Tuggle did not ask Turner questions during the brief meeting that lasted less than five minutes.
The News & Advance

Five days after members of the Charlottesville City Council emphasized a need to enforce rules at meetings and support each other, three of them were the target of vicious personal attacks by members of the public. One of the councilors said Wednesday that Mayor Nikuyah Walker isn’t doing enough to control the environment while a candidate for a seat on the panel compared the language used at Monday’s meeting to that surrounding the Aug. 12, 2017, white supremacist rally. “We just had a retreat where we agreed to enforce our rules against disruption from the floor and profanity,” Councilor Mike Signer wrote in an email. “Only the mayor can enforce these rules, but she’s not, and this chaos is the result. Something has to change.” Councilors Kathy Galvin, Heather Hill and Signer were targeted after they declined to allocate an additional $35,000 to bring the rapper Wale to a Unity Days event. Walker, who reiterated at the meeting and on Tuesday that she also didn’t support the request, was ignored during the tirades. The councilors were met with a blanket accusation of white supremacy after the request was denied. Councilors were then targeted individually during the final public comment session.
The Daily Progress

Warren County Supervisor Tom Sayre, at the Board of Supervisors regular Tuesday meeting, lamented that he was never told that Stoneburner Carter Insurance - a company at which Supervisor Tony Carter is employed - is the broker on insurance policies for a number of properties owned by the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. The EDA-owned properties insured by Stoneburner Carter include the former Stokes Market building on Main Street and nearby apartments, the Afton Inn, a warehouse at 426 Baugh Drive and a building at 1325 Progress Drive. After the meeting, Carter declined to say how much commission Stoneburner Carter receives as a broker but said the total premiums on the EDA properties are about $30,000. Commonwealth's Attorney Brian stated in an advisory opinion that Carter has no conflict of interest regarding the fire and rescue policy and that would remain the case even if Carter's "equity interest" in the business increased.
The Northern Virginia Daily

At Thursday night’s meeting of the Danville School Board, the board considered board-member Crystal Cobbs’ suggestion of creating a community forum. After seeing a similar meeting happen in Lynchburg, Cobbs thought it might be a good opportunity for increased transparency and accountability for the school board to have a community forum for parents and teachers to participate in. It could also give the board a chance to educate the public on certain things, such as Standards of Learning, that the public might not be aware of and introduce their strategic plan.


stories of national interest

Kansas' new Medicaid inspector general revealed Monday an audit showing nobody in Kansas government read nearly 100 emails alleging fraud, waste, abuse in state-administered health programsfrom August 2017 to January, and that at least 42 were subsequently found to have merit. Sarah Fertig, inspector general in the office of Attorney General Derek Schmidt, said more than 200 emails sent to an unstaffed office at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment were ignored. Among emails received during that 18-month period, Fertig said, 95 alleged or sought information on reporting misconduct involving Medicaid, MediKan and SCHIP programs.

A federal judge has rejected National Public Radio’s bid to dismiss a Texas investment adviser’s libel suit over news reports about conspiracy theories surrounding the death of a Democratic National Committee staffer during the 2016 campaign. Judge Amos Mazzant of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled Wednesday that the $57 million suit brought by Ed Butowsky makes plausible claims that the network may be liable for defamation for a series of online storiesabout Butowsky’s role in publicizing assertions that the murdered DNC staffer, Seth Rich, may have been involved in leaking Democratic emails.