(Editor's note: This article has been updated with a belated response for comment from the attorney for Eugene Delgaudio. That response is published at the bottom of the story.)
ARLINGTON, Va. -- A special prosecutor has been appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of misuse of public office and improper campaign fund raising by veteran Loudoun County, Va., Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling, Va.).
Delgaudio is head of the organization "Public Advocate of The United States," a non-profit group that advocates against LGBT rights, and has been named as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
He has been accused by a former staffer of mixing that organization's business with county business.
The appointment of Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani Stamo on Friday, follows a request by Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman, in Circuit Court documents filed in Leesburg, Va., earlier in the week.
In the court documents, Plowman cites the fact that his office had received additional information concerning the allegations against the four term supervisor "that merited further review."
"This information requires a request for an independent prosecutor from outside Loudoun County to conduct the investigation which would act to preserve public confidence in the integrity of any conclusions,” Plowman wrote.
The investigation into Delgaudio was initiated after Donna Mateer, a former staffer, alleged that she spent the majority of her working hours early this year scheduling political fundraising meetings.
In her complaint to the Loudoun County's human resources department last spring, Mateer also claimed that Delgaudio subjected his employees to a hostile working environment. After news of the investigation was made public, Delgaudio reportedly fired her.
Mateer had turned over documents, including fundraising spreadsheets and e-mail records related to her allegations, to county officials, and, on several occasions, met with FBI agents regarding Delgaudio's activities.
Delgaudio, who has publicly denounced gay people as “perverts” and “freaks,” has routinely injected himself into political battles across the country through his conservative nonprofit group, Public Advocate.
In particular, Delgaudio has used Public Advocate to rail against same-sex-marriage initiatives in various states and argue that federal anti-bullying legislation and even airport pat-downs are evidence of a “radical homosexual” agenda.
Delgaudio's organization is also the target of a lawsuit filed in U. S. District Court in Colorado for the unauthorized use of a gay couple’s engagement photo in several anti-gay propaganda direct mailers used in two separate GOP primary races last spring.
Delgaudio has repeatedly denied the accusations, including in the Colorado case, and neither he nor his attorney, Charles King, responded to requests for comment.
Responding to the appointment of a special prosecutor at the County's request and the suspension of the Board's administrative investigation, Charlie King, attorney for Supervisor Delgaudio said:
"The public needs to understand it is routine to bring in a prosecutor from another county to investigate when there are questions about the conduct of a local elected official. Otherwise, you would have one local elected official investigating another local elected official.
"Although the Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney was appointed, the actual investigation will be done by an experienced law enforcement officer, probably a Special Agent with the Virginia State Police.
"The Commonwealth's Attorney only investigates crimes. Ms. Mateer's office environment allegations are not within the scope of the investigation.
"It does not always follow charges are filed because there is an investigation. If the investigator does not develop evidence there is probable cause a crime was committed, the case is closed with no action taken.
"An objective investigation benefits Supervisor Delgaudio. The trooper won't concern himself with Supervisor Delgaudio's views, popularity or anybody's political agenda. Supervisor Delgaudio's detractors will have the opportunity to vent all their allegations. If the charges made by Ms. Mateer and Supervisor Delgaudio's critics are found to be unsubstantiated by the Virginia State Police and the Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney, those matters must be considered closed by all reasonable people.
"I believe Ms. Stamos's initial opinion was correct and will not change based on the additional evidence. It does appear some in Loudoun County are trying to accomplish through allegations of misconduct what they could not at the ballot box -- the defeat of Supervisor Delgaudio. "
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