SW board comments on OB political contributions

Reposted from “Too Conservative” blog: Oct. 30, 2011

What is OpenBand buying?

We would like to update your readers on the issue of the ongoing campaign contributions to several Loudoun County Board of Supervisors candidates.  One thing to keep in mind; OpenBand’s video franchise with the county expired two years ago and OpenBand currently has an application before the Board for a new franchise, which makes the following campaign contributions troubling.

In our previous letter to the editor, dated October 7, 2011, we provided details on campaign donations from OpenBand’s parent company. We showed monetary contributions made by OpenBand’s parent company and its officers to the various Loudoun County Supervisor races. Since then additional contributions have been made.  This data is publicly available by the State Board of Elections and VPAP.   Below are the updated campaign contribution totals:

  • Ralph Buona $5,000 + $500 + $500 + $250 = $6,250
  • Janet Clarke $5,000 + $500 + $500 + $250 = $6,250
  • Matt Letourneau $2,500 + $3,000 + $500 = $6,000
  • Suzanne Volpe $5,500 + $500 + $250 = $6,250
  • Eugene Delgaudio $4,500 +$5,500+2,500 = $12,500

OpenBand’s president, Mr. Bill Dean is listed among the top 5 contributors for each of the above mentioned Board of Supervisors candidates.

In addition, we have discovered that OpenBand’s parent company donated an astounding $25,000 to the “Opportunity Virginia PAC”, which in turn gave $11,500 to State Senate candidate Dick Black. The remainder was distributed to other State Senate candidates who then funneled the identical contributions to Dick Black’s campaign. OpenBand’s parent company also made a direct contribution of $2,500 to Black’s campaign. Detailed below are the itemized amounts Dick Black has received from OpenBand’s parent company:

Dick Black: $25,000 + $2,500 = $27,500

In total we have identified over $64,750 in campaign contributions from OpenBand’s parent company to Loudoun County supervisor and state Senate campaigns.

On Oct. 11, 2011, the BoS held their second public hearing on OpenBand’s video franchise application, which adjourned at approximately 8:25 p.m. That same night dozens of Southern Walk homeowners received a telephone poll regarding the supervisor race within the Broad Run District. The poll asked questions concerning likelihood to vote, and rating of Shawn Williams (R), Andrea McGimsey(D) and Cliff Keirce (I). At the conclusion of this poll, the pollster disclosed that it was “paid for and authorized by M.C. Dean.”

The combined campaign contributions and recent telephone poll by OpenBand and their affiliates brings to mind a series of questions:

  • Why is OpenBand’s parent company donating tens of thousands of dollars to the BoS and State Senate candidates?
  • Why is OpenBand’s parent company spending thousands of dollars to conduct telephone polls in districts where they have donated thousands of dollars to candidates running for the BoS?
  • Will these candidates disclose OpenBand/M.C. Dean’s recent telephone poll as an in-kind donation or will OpenBand’s parent company simply give this valuable polling data to the Loudoun County Republican Committee, who will in turn share the results with their candidates?

OpenBand currently has an open application before the current Board of Supervisors and it is likely the 2012 Board may need to vote on a new franchise application from OpenBand. Mr. Delgaudio has received several donations that span many years. However, on Sept. 29, 2011, he accepted a $2,500 donation from OpenBand’s parent company. Mr. Delgaudio is a member of the current Board that is currently reviewing and will conduct a long awaited vote on OpenBand’s video franchise. We believe that, due to a clear conflict of interest and by all sense of ethical boundaries, Mr. Delgaudio should voluntarily recuse himself from participating in this vote.  Please note that no other current member of the Board of Supervisors has accepted any campaign donation from OpenBand or its affiliates.

We believe that the amount of money that OpenBand’s parent company has donated to candidates is their attempt to preserve their anti-competitive 65-year telecommunications contract and to discourage any future elected official from scrutinizing their questionable business. It is incumbent upon every voter in Loudoun County to stand up at the polls on Nov. 8 and to say once and for all that this kind of political influence in Loudoun County is no longer acceptable.

Respectfully,

Erika Cotti, President, Southern Walk HOA Board of Directors
Doug Granzow, Treasurer, Southern Walk HOA Board of Directors
Sangram Deshmukh, Director, Southern Walk HOA Board of Directors
Jim Ward, Director, Director, Southern Walk HOA Board of Directors
Charles Salas, Director, Southern Walk HOA Board of Directors

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