At the Board of Supervisors' Oct. 18 meeting, Vice Chairman Bruce Tulloch (R-Potomac) expressed his distaste for a flyer that was distributed to several South Riding homes Oct. 13, a day before Inova Health Systems announced a purchase agreement for 94 acres of land with Shockey Farm owner Haseltine Shockey upon which it plans to build a new hospital. The flier shows head shots of Tulloch and Supervisors Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Steve Snow (R-Dulles). At the top, it asks the question: "What do Greenvest LLC, the Shockey family, and big developers get for $108,541 in campaign contributions to Supervisors Delguadio (sic), Snow, and Tulloch?" The answer, stated below the supervisors' pictures, says, "A real estate deal worth millions. In exchange for campaign contributions, our Loudoun Supervisors are opening the door for massive development in the transition area. All at the expense of Loudoun families." Tulloch said he finds distributions like the flyer nonproductive, created specifically for shock and awe value.
"I've fought very hard for responsible development," he said. "For anybody that's confused with why I took donations in the development community, those people were my adversaries working on real estate issues." Tulloch said he's proud of every donation he accepted because it means he earned the respect of those people. "You elected us to make decisions," he said. "I got to tell you the difference between me and most politicians, is I don't give a damn about politics. I care about doing what's right."
Tulloch said he intended to seek legal counsel because he felt the flier and a Web site, www.loudoun4sale.com, erected the day before the announcement had impugned their reputation.
"I am completely offended by floating heads on a flyer saying supervisors are for sale," he said. Tulloch encouraged the anonymous offenders to take the energy they put into creating the Web site and distributing the flyers into creating "real solutions."
PAGES ON THE Web site followed a similar "how much of Loudoun is up for sale?" theme accusing the supervisors and Shockey family of under-the-table deals with developers. Both the flyer and Web site listed the Shockey Farm's address and the time the hospital announcement was supposed to take place and suggested residents attend to protest the purchase agreement. Many residents in the transitional and rural policy areas are against high-paced development in those areas. The property sold to Inova Health Systems lies in the suburban policy area, an area zoned for industrial development like the hospital. It is, however, across the street from the transitional area boundary line, according to Loudoun Healthcare attorney Randall Minchew. Jack Shockey, farm property owner and president of Citizens for Property Rights, said the public was not invited to rally at the announcement ceremony on the family's private property.
"We knew it was going to be held on our property but it wasn't held by our permission," he said.
Shockey said his 84-year-old mother, who sold the land to Inova, is ill and that they both found the proposed rally to be "harassing."
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW attorney David Bailey of Beaverdam, Va., registered the site Oct. 12 but as of Oct. 20, both the Web site and a related blog on blogger.com had been removed from the Internet. Bailey said the site is currently being restructured but said he has no knowledge of the site being connected to the flier or vice versa. Bailey said he doesn't design Web sites but does perform a Web site registration service.
"I was asked to secure a registration name for a Web site, just like as if an attorney is asked to file corporation papers with the FCC to get a company organized."
The attorney's name may be on the filing, he said, but all it means is that he or she is performing a function to make sure it's done properly.
"I don't have anything to do with what the corporation does. I don't have anything to do with what the Web site does. I don't have anything to do with the Web site," he said.
However, because of client privileged information, Bailey would not disclose the Web site's actual owner. He added that he didn't know for certain that his client was involved with the Web site, since anyone can register a Web site. Bailey said he does not currently have any clients or cases in Loudoun.
South Riding resident Barbara Munsey, who spoke before the board during public comment, said she saw the anonymous fliers pop up around the community tucked in between the mailbox itself and the box flag on the evening of Oct. 13. Munsey said she thinks it's a positive sign that the Web site is down. She said the person who put the Web site up probably realized they made a "big, fat, ugly mistake."
"Quite frankly, I find it disgusting and below the belt. It fires me up that she's elderly and she's ill and she's being personally attacked," she said. "If you're going to attack someone, attack someone who can fight back, who's actually done something wrong."
Delgaudio said he wasn't angry about the comments on the flier because the public has a right to its own opinion, but he did take offense to his misspelled name. He said he was more concerned about Haseltine Shockey being harassed for selling her private property.
"The Shockey's are providing the community with a hospital site. What's wrong with that?" he said.