Local activist calls for resignations (Video)

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm  Comments (5)  

The Sherando Times: July 28 – August 3, 2010

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Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 11:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Trouble in the colonies (Season 1, Episode 1)

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Published in: on July 25, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments (5)  

The late July issue of Warren County Report

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Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 8:26 am  Comments (1)  

You are served – council flees, fumes, threatens

Responses citing grounds for defense expected to be filed by Aug. 9

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — July 22, 2010 — Three members of Front Royal Town Council and the Town Attorney (for the town) were served with legal documents naming them as defendants in a $30-million civil suit at a Town Hall work session July 19, protesting the whole while.

“Lock ’em up,” said newly installed Councilman Hollis Tharpe as process server John Arena calmly went about his business with Town Police Lt. Clint Keller briskly raced up from behind.

The council had just voted to go into a closed session to discuss their lawsuit with the town attorney (an item conspicuously absent from the agenda) and it appeared to some that one meeting had ended but another had not yet begun as spectators, staff and reporters began packing their items up to leave.

At this point, process server Arena, 6-foot-9-inches tall and armed with size 18 feet and four 154-page copies of a lawsuit that could cost Front Royal taxpayers millions, casually sprung into action.

Arena first placed a folder in front of Town Attorney Thomas R. Robinett, thus serving notice to the town government, and walked away. Expressing some consternation Robinett said, “Sir, you are going to interrupt a public meeting?”

Arena said nothing and methodically proceeded around the table toward his next target, Vice Mayor Chris W. Holloway. Holloway sat and didn’t say anything (yet.)

Newly installed Mayor Tim Darr asked Arena if he could wait until after the closed session which the mayor promised would only last “about five minutes.” Arena slowed for a moment before placing the next folder in front of Holloway. As Arena proceeded around the mayor toward his final two targets, Holloway threw his hands into the air in exasperation.

FRPD Lt. Keller (presumably there to beef up the security normally provided solely by Chief Richard Furr) moved up behind Arena as Furr stood guard at the other side of the table.

Councilman Tharpe (perhaps emboldened since he wasn’t on Arena’s $30 million hit list) issued some advice to Arena and instructions for Keller. “You’ve been warned. Lock him up,” Tharpe said in a most serious tone.

At this point target 3, Councilman Sayre (who had been ducking behind people throughout the meeting to avoid our reporter’s camera) got up and walked to the far end of the meeting table to flee Arena and his intimidating folders. Councilman Carson Lauder, target 4, sat calmly and took it like a man. Even calmer, considering he was being threatened with jail by one councilman, being asked to wait by a mayor and town attorney and chased – albeit slowly – by one of the top two officials of the town police department, Arena simply proceeded to slowly walk around the table to drop the last two lawsuits of a lifetime in front of Lauder and at Sayre’s suddenly vacated seat. With Sayre out of camera range at the far end of the table, Arena appears to make eye contact, says, “Mr. Sayre,” and drops his final packet at Sayre’s place.

Arena, followed closely by Lt. Keller, then calmly walked out of the room and the building.

Mayor Darr (who is not an attorney and may not have realized that the serving had been completed once the packets were placed in front of the recipients) asked Chief Furr to return the complaints to Arena.

“He’s going to jail. He can’t take them to jail,” offered Tharpe, unaware that Arena had committed no crime and already left the building.

Town Attorney Robinett, realizing the deed had been done, suggested they keep the thick folders.

As the only person in the room with a video camera, I stayed to capture all this, apparently drawing the ire of target 2 Holloway who turned to me and said, “Hey Dan, this is a closed meeting,” while raising his eyebrows almost to his scalp and jabbing at the air toward the door with his pen.

“I’m leaving, chill out buddy,” I said to Holloway as I slowly packed up my things and kept the camera rolling for a few more precious seconds.

Council then went into closed session to discuss the lawsuit and were perhaps advised on the matter for the last time by Town Attorney Robinett, who’s own packet probably contained a letter from Attorney David W. Silek warning that Robinett would be called as a witness in the case and would most likely be deposed, likely making it improper for him to offer any further advice or counsel on the case to his clients.

Defense responses to the lawsuit must be filed within 21 calendar days, making Aug. 9 that deadline.

Responding to this reporter and Roger Bianchini’s comments on his actions during the process serving on WZRV’s The News at Noon on July 20, Sayre explained by e-mail, “It appeared to me he [Arena] might be arrested on the spot and I got out of the way in case there was an altercation.”

Sayre has not yet responded to our follow up question about leaving a considerably older co-defendant, Carson Lauder, to fend for himself had such an altercation, as unlikely as it seemed, occurred.

As for council criticism on the method of the serving and his notifying the media in advance of it, SolAVerde attorney David Silek told us, “It is no different than when the police alert the press about a high profile suspect being “perp walk” in front of cameras.

“They chose to publicly defame my clients and they chose this process. We publicly asked for a retraction on several occasions and that a settlement be offered. I have repeatedly asked that the source of the leak man up and come forward. To me, the only reason that person or persons haven’t yet come forward is self interest. They have put their individual self interest above that of the Town of Front Royal and exposed all of the town to liability – that’s how selfish that person is.”

“If the public wants that kind of representation then as they say, people get the government they deserve. But I can’t imagine the public wants that kind of representation,” Silek concluded.

Asked about Sayre’s explanation of his actions in being served, Silek said, “I think the video speaks for itself. It is far more telling than anyone’s attempt at self-justification.”

Dan McDermott:
editor@warrencountyreport.com

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Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm  Comments (1)  

The Sherando Times: July 21 – 27, 2010

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Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 7:33 am  Leave a Comment  

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Councilman asks police to lock up process server as members receive $30 million lawsuit

NOTE: This post has been updated.

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — July 19, 2010 — Three members of Front Royal Town Council and the Town Attorney were served with legal documents at a Town Hall work session tonight, protesting the whole while.

“Lock em up,” said newly installed Councilman Hollis Tharpe as process server John Arena went about his business with Town Police Lt. Clint Keller racing up from behind.

Earlier today, Warren County Report exclusively reported that the complaints in a $30 million lawsuit charging the town and three councilmen with defamation and hurting a business would be served after the work session, held most Mondays in between the more formal twice-monthly council meetings.

The council had just voted to go into a closed session to discuss their lawsuit with the town attorney (an item conspicuously absent from the agenda) and it appeared to some that one meeting had ended but another had not yet begun as spectators, staff and reporters began packing their items up to leave.

At this point, process server Arena, 6’8″ tall and armed with size 18 feet and four 154-page copies of a lawsuit that could cost Front Royal taxpayers millions, casually sprung into action.

Arena first placed a folder in front of Town Attorney Thomas R. Robinett and walked away. Looking surprised, Robinett said “Sir, you are going to interrupt a public meeting?”

Arena said nothing and proceeded around the table toward his next target, Councilman Chris W. Holloway. Holloway sat and didn’t say anything (yet.)

Newly installed Mayor Tim Darr asked Arena to wait until after the closed session “which will only last about five minutes.” Arena slowed for a moment before placing the next folder in front of Holloway.

FRPD Lt. Keller (presumably there to beef up the security normally provided solely by Chief Richard Furr) hurried to catch up to Arena and Furr stood guard at the other side of the table.

Councilman Tharpe (perhaps emboldened since he wasn’t on Arena’s $30 million hit list) issued some advice to Arena and instructions for Keller. “You’ve been warned. Lock him up,” Tharpe said in a most serious tone.

At this point target 3 Councilman Sayre (who had been ducking behind people throughout the meeting to avoid our reporter’s camera) got up and walked around the table to flee Arena and his intimidating folders. Councilman Carson Lauder, target 4, sat calmly and took it like a man. Even calmer, considering he was being threatened with jail by a councilman, being told to leave by a mayor and town attorney and chased–albeit slowly–by the top two officials of the town police department, Arena simply proceeded to slowly walk around the table and drop the last two lawsuits of a lifetime in front of Lauder and where Sayre would be again seated, once Arena had left and it was safe to return.

Arena, followed closely by Lt. Keller, simply slowly walked out of the room and left the building.

Mayor Darr (who is not an attorney and may not have realized that the serving had been completed once the packets were placed in front of the recipients) asked Chief Furr to return the complaints to Arena.

“He’s going to jail. He can’t take them to jail,” offered Tharpe, unaware that Arena had committed no crime and already left the building.

Town Attorney Robinett, realizing the deed had been done, suggested they keep the thick folders.

As the only person in the room with a video camera, I stayed to capture all this, apparently drawing the ire of target 2 Holloway who turned to me and said, “Hey Dan, this is a closed meeting,” while raising his eyebrows almost to his scalp and jabbing at the air toward the door with his pen.

“I’m leaving, chill out buddy,” I said to Holloway as I very slowly packed up my things and kept the camera rolling for a few more precious seconds.

Council then went into closed session to discuss the lawsuit and were perhaps advised on the matter for the last time by Town Attorney Robinett, who’s own packet probably contained a letter from Attorney David W. Silek warning that Robinett would be called as a witness in the case and would most likely be deposed, making it improper for him to offer any further advice or counsel on the case to his clients.

Dan McDermott: editor@warrencountyreport.com

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Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 10:00 pm  Comments (31)  

BREAKING: Council members to be served at tonight’s work session

[This story has been updated: Town, council members served.]

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

FRONT ROYAL, Va. — July 19, 2010 — Three members of Front Royal Town Council and the Town Attorney will be served legal documents in a $30 million lawsuit following tonight’s 7pm council work session in Town Hall, according to Manassas attorney David W. Silek.

Silek is representing SolAVerde, LLC, Donald F. Poe of Warren County and Gregory A. Horton of Strasburg, Va. who allege they were defamed and their business relationships were interfered with.

Council members Chris W. Holloway, Thomas H. Sayre and Carson Lauder are named in the suit individually. The suit seeks $30 million in actual damages to be divided up amongst the defendants and $350,000 from each of them in punitive damages.

Robinett was also sent a letter informing him that he will be called as a witness in the case and informed that he will most likely be deposed. This means he cannot represent the town or any of the defendants in the matter. This move was expected since he is named repeatedly in the lawsuit. It is anticipated that the town and the individual council members will be represented by either the Virginia Municipal League or private council.

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Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm  Comments (1)  

Fast-pitch softball champs fundraising for regionals

Warren County's 12-and-Under Babe Ruth League fast pitch Softball Virginia State Champions celebrate with trophy and practice at Chimney Field readying for regionals.

12-Under Virginia champs, 10-Under runner ups raising $ for Florida trips

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

The weekend of July 17-18, two local Babe Ruth League girls fast pitch softball teams representing the Warren County Girls Softball Association will be conducting fundraisers to help facilitate trips to the Southeast Regional Tournament to be held in Alamonte Springs, Florida, near Tampa this coming week.

Both teams did their community proud last week in Richmond at the State Tournament. The Front Royal 12-and-Under girls won the Virginia State Championship and the 10-and-Under team was runner up, earning a regional berth as the state’s second place qualifier from divisions representing nearly 270 Babe Ruth League teams throughout the state. Both teams are anticipating expenses of around $10,000 to cover transportation, accommodations, meals and miscellaneous tournament expenses for the teams, coaches and family members able to make the trip.

The squads are heading into this weekend going full bore to assure they have the funds to head to Florida for Tuesday regional team check-ins and orientation meetings. Tournaments play begins on Wednesday, July 21 and progresses to the weekend.

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Warren County's 12-and-Under Babe Ruth League fast pitch Softball Virginia State Champions celebrate with trophy and practice at Chimney Field readying for regionals.

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Warren County's 12-and-Under Babe Ruth League fast pitch Softball Virginia State Champions celebrate with trophy and practice at Chimney Field readying for regionals.

If you are in town this Saturday or Sunday keep your eyes open for car washes and bake sales set up as team fundraisers. Contact numbers for those wishing to contribute directly to the teams is also posted below.

Events:

The 12-and-Unders will be hosting a car wash Saturday and Sunday, July 17-18 at the Royal Oak Tavern parking lot at 101 W. 14th Street on Front Royal’s northside from 10 a.m. till there are no more dirty cars left within the town limits;
The 10-and-unders will host a bake sale at Andrick’s Flea Market on Saturday, July 17;
and car washes at both Auto Zone and the Rite Aid parking lots this weekend as well.

Contacts:

For those not passing through town or who already have clean cars and all the baked goods they need, contributions for the teams can be made through the following individuals:

12-U – Aletha Craig, 540 671-0466 or Buzzy Williams, 540 636-4787 or 540 335-6442;
10-U – For more info on these efforts the league may be contacted at 540 974-9879.

Roster, 12-U Virginia State Champions:

Michala Caison, Emma Wright, Carrie Robinson (State Tourney MVP), Caitlyn Manuel, Myranda Garber, Makela Dawkins, Samantha Santmyers, Victoria Hamilton, Savannah Jones, Samantha Swecker, Ashley Williams, Amanda Kresge. Coach Todd Robinson noted that unfortunately two players, Manuel and Jones will not be able to make the trips due to other family commitments.

State Results, 12 and Under:
Glen Allen, W 2-1;
New Kent, L 10-1;
Varina, W 7-0;
Shenandoah, W 4-3;
Albemarle, W 10-0;
Championship Round
New Kent, W 4-1;
New Kent, W 3-2

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The 10-and Under Virginia State fast pitch softball Runner-ups get ready for their regional run

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The 10-and Under Virginia State fast pitch softball Runner-ups get ready for their regional run

Roster, 10-U Virginia State Runner Ups:

Annslee Cockrell, Natasha Grayson, Tamara Grayson, Kima Robinson, Georgia Romer, Kelsi Caison, Myrissa Garber, Rachel Sirbaugh, Camryn Greene, Jayda Saulsbury, Savannah Haffer, Lissette Maya, Libby Hipple and Karlee LeHew. As with the 12 and Unders, Coaches Mike Haffer and Angie Caison noted some loss of personnel – Maya, Hipple and LeHew – for the trip due to other family commitments and circumstances.

State Results, 10 and Under:
West Loudoun, W 17-7;
Glen Allen, L 6-0;
Albemarle, W 9-3;
Skyline, W 7-3;
Rockville, W 10-5;
Championship Round
Glen Allen, L 8-2;

Congratulations to all the players and coaches for jobs well done – GO GIRLS!!!

You can keep up with Regional Tournament results and info at the official tourney website:

http://www.altamontesports.org/softballregional.php

Warren’s 12-U Virginia State Champions begin North Division Regional Pool play on Wednesday at 6 p.m. versus Kinston Lenoir, NC. Other North Division teams include Creeks, St. John’s, FLA.; and West Ashley, Charleston, SC. One North Division team has already announced its forfeit of a place in the tournament due to the same financial and personnel issues faced by all teams at this point.

South Division teams include the host Altamonte Springs, FLA, Marshall County, TENN, New Kent, VA, and Orange Park, FLA.

The 12-U Regional Championship Round begins Saturday, July 24 at the Seminole Softball Complex with the Championship game at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 25 at the same location.

Warren’s 10-U Virginia State Runner Ups begin South Division Regional Pool play at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 22, against Creeks, St John’s FLA. Other South Division teams include host Alamonte Springs, FLA; Marshall County, TENN; Down East, Smyma, NC.

North Division teams include Ponte Vedra, FLA; Pitt County, NC, Ocala, FLA; Goose Creek, SC; and Glen Allen, VA. There was also one team forfeit announced at the 10-U level.

The Regional Championship Round at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Merrill Park and concludes with the Championship game at noon on Sunday, July 25, also at Merrill Park Field.

Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm  Comments (5)  

BREAKING NEWS: Town of Front Royal, 3 councilmen sued for $30 million

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By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

FRONT ROYAL, VA – July 15, 2010 – A lawsuit was filed today seeking over $30 million dollars in damages against the Town of Front Royal and three members of Town Council: Vice Mayor Chris W. Holloway and members  Thomas H. Sayre and Carson Lauder.

The lawsuit, on behalf of SolAVerde, LLC, Donald F. Poe and Gregory Horton, all of Warren County, seeks $30,000,000 for defamatory acts, interference with a business relationship, damage to reputation and emotional and mental health and charges the town with defamation.

In addition to $30,000,000 claimed in actual damages, the suit seeks $350,000 per defendant for punitive damages.

The suit centers around pre-election allegations that the plantiffs attempted to bribe the Town Manager.

The suit was filed today by Attorneys David W. Silek and Stephanie S. Ryan of the Manassas law firm Ours and Silek, P.C.

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AUDIO interview from today on The news at Noon from The River 95.3 FM and WFTR 1450 AM.

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm  Comments (9)  
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