Civil Lawsuit Against Herndon Town Councilmember to be ‘Set Aside’

Civil Lawsuit Against Herndon Town Councilmember to be ‘Set Aside’

Herndon Town councilmember-elect, Cesar A. Del Aguila, nearly one week after the Nov. 6, 2018 General & Special Elections during which Town of Herndon voters cast votes for Mayor and Town Councilmembers, said:

"In the interest of moving forward, Signe Friedrichs, Sheila Olem and I have decided to set aside the civil lawsuit against Grace Cunningham for Malicious Prosecution."

Del Aguila said, "I plan on saying this tomorrow night at the Herndon Town Council Public Session during comments from the audience." He permitted the Connection to publicly release his statement as quoted before the Public Session to be held at 7 p.m. in the Herndon Council Chambers Building.

On Sept. 24, 2018, he and then incumbent Herndon councilmembers Friedrichs and Olem also running for seats on the Herndon Town Council filed a Complaint against incumbent councilmember Cunningham also seeking a seat on the Herndon Town Council. The Complaint stated "Malicious Prosecution" with damages of $150,000 sought.

The Complaint claimed that in the summer of 2018 on different dates, Cunningham filed three complaints with the Virginia Board of Elections under Virginia Code 24.2.956, Stand by Your Ad law against Friedrichs, Del Aguila and Olem.

The Complaint alleged that Cunningham claimed there was no identification of whose campaign committee paid for and authorized a palm or “grip card” for Friedrichs; there was no campaign committee named "Friends of Cesar;" Del Aguila had not filed required campaign finance disclosure reports; and that Olem handed out grip cards entitled, "Moving Herndon Forward" at a meeting of the Dranesville Magisterial District Democratic committee.

All three cases came before the Virginia State Board of Elections on September 20, 2018, and were summarily dismissed by the Board. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, Lisa C. Merkel, Mayor of Herndon, Vice Mayor Jennifer Baker and Herndon Town Councilmember William McKenna received subpoenas to be deposed. On Oct. 19, Fairfax County Circuit Court Chief Judge Bruce White denied Cunningham’s counsel, State Sen. Chap Petersen motion for dismissal.

The yet still unofficial Fairfax County Office Election Results as last updated Nov. 9. 2018 and viewed online for the six out of six available Herndon Town Council seats, shows Sheila A. Olem in first place with 4,288 votes, Cesar A. Del Aguila in second place with 3,916 votes and Signe V. Friedrichs in fourth place with 3,436 votes.

Grace Wolf Cunningham did not win a seat on the Herndon Town Council, receiving 2,702 votes.