Fourteen people, including all of Warren County’s leading government officials, have been indicted on misdemeanor charges related to an ongoing investigation involving the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA).
A Warren County special grand jury handed up 42 misdemeanor counts on Friday.
The grand jury has charged each of the individuals with two counts of misfeasance and one count of nonfeasance (Virginia Code Section 1-200) based on their alleged “knowledge of and inaction of the EDA's mismanagement of funds.”
Among those indicted: County Executive Douglas P. Stanley, 50, of Front Royal; and the five county Board of Supervisors, including chairman Daniel J. Murray Jr., 72, of Middletown; Tony F. Carter, 59, of Linden; Archie A. Fox, 78, of Strasburg; Linda P. Glavis, 75, of Front Royal; and Thomas H. Sayre, 54, of Front Royal.
Also charged was former Warren County Attorney Daniel N. Whitten, 36, of Front Royal, and former county schools superintendent Luke G. Drescher, 59, of Middletown.
The remaining charged were Mark A. Baker, 53, of Front Royal; William M. Biggs, 77, of Front Royal; Alexander G. Blanton, 72, of Front Royal; Bruce N. Drummond, 68, of Linden; Ronald L. Llewellyn, 66, of Front Royal; and Thomas E. Patteson III, 73, of Front Royal.
Thirteen of the individuals indicted turned themselves in to state police today (Sept. 24) and went before the magistrate, who released each one on a personal recognizance bond. Whitten, the former county attorney, will meet with the magistrate and state police tomorrow (Wednesday).
All of the charges stem from an investigation of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Culpeper Field Office, initiated in August 2018 related to the business practices of the EDA. The investigation was at the request of the Front Royal Police Department.
Since May 2019, multi-jurisdictional grand juries have handed up a total of 28 felony indictments against Jennifer R. McDonald, 42, of Front Royal.
McDonald is a former EDA employee and has been charged with six felony counts of embezzlement of more than/equal to $500, six felony counts of embezzlement of more than/equal to $200, eight felony counts of obtaining money by false pretense of more than/equal to $200, two felony counts of obtaining money by false pretense of more than/equal to $500, and five felony counts of conducting an unlawful financial transaction.
McDonald was released on bond in July.
Earlier this summer, Virginia State Police arrested Michelle “Missy” Henry, 56, of Warren County. The EDA’s former administrative assistant, Henry was initially ordered held without bond at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail pending an initial court appearance.
On June 21, a Warren County special grand jury handed up two counts of embezzlement/larceny for offenses committed in 2014 and 2016 during Henry's employment with the EDA, according to the state police. Until Friday’s indictments, Henry’s was the second arrest made since the investigation was initiated into the EDA's finances.
Last March, it was discovered that millions of dollars were missing at the EDA, which in turn sued McDonald, as well as former Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, who had just resigned from office, and others.
Three days after McDonald’s arrest, McEathron took his own life.
When McDonald was locked up this summer, the alleged embezzlement figure stood at $17.6 million. It’s now grown to $21 million, if not more.
Front Royal’s interim mayor Matt Tederick has gone on record saying this is possibly the largest embezzlement scandal in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The investigation remains ongoing at this time.