Loudoun Board Of Equalization Wastes Our Tax Dollars

By Loudoun Insider

In more than one way.  They regularly make boneheaded assessment decisions, and now they have caused the taxpayers of Loudoun County to blow nearly EIGHTY GRAND defending themselves in a ridiculous legal battle where they had a hissy fit over someone taking a photo at a public meeting.  That EIGHTY GRAND figure includes $54,000 to local attorney and Dem activist John Flannery defending the boneheaded BOE, and $25,000 to outside attorneys to represent the Board of Supervisors, who simply want to make this go away with a simple apology to the woman who snapped the incredibly damaging EIGHTY GRAND photo.  Tom Jackman lays out the case brilliantly at The State of NOVA.  Good grief what a joke.  Once again Loudoun County lives up to its LoCo reputation.


Comments

  • Somebody needs to be taught a lesson about open meetings and attempts to intimidate journalists.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    David, I read the article and it appears the reporter stated she was there as a private citizen.

    That said, private citizens have the right to photograph, record etc, as long as they do it in such a way that the business of the meeting is not disrupted by it.

    This sounds pretty over the top, and an amazing legal bill too!

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Who cares whether she was there as a journalist or a private citizen, but she is a freelancer for several venues, so they should be interchangeable in this instance. Either way, the actions of the BOE are despicable.

  • TCJohnson says:

    I know I asked this before, but are all counties this messed up?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    No.

    Unfortunately for those of us stuck in Loudoun.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    No. I have lived in one county worse (LA County) and a few better. Thank you LI for posting this. I was thinking of posting something about this when I saw the piece in the WaPo. Maybe we all ought to grab our cameras and head to the next BOE meeting. They can’t sue us all, right?

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    And it looks like a pretty good picture of the guy. You, Scott Littner, are an idiot. Its one thing to get mad. Its another to let something like this reach this level.

    Please leave our county.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    Or better yet, show us that you can realize when you look like an idiot and apologize to the woman and cover her legal fees and end the escalation.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Good idea, LA, I think I just may have to show up with a videocam!

    Seriously, folks, everyone should be OUTRAGED about this! EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in legal fees gone up in smoke because a reporter took a photo during a public meeting. Unbelievable.

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    And you can post the video of the guy losing it on YouTube and there is nothing he can do about it. That is the law and freedom of speech. A guy like this needs to be followed around in every public venue by paparazzi. Maybe someone can get a good shot of him picking his nose. This is a good picture. He should ask for a copy.

  • Taxpayer says:

    The Virginia FOIA treats a reporter like any other person.

    § 2.2-3707. Meetings to be public;

    H. Any person may photograph, film, record or otherwise reproduce any portion of a meeting required to be open. The public body conducting the meeting may adopt rules governing the placement and use of equipment necessary for broadcasting, photographing, filming or recording a meeting to prevent interference with the proceedings, but shall not prohibit or otherwise prevent any person from photographing, filming, recording, or otherwise reproducing any portion of a meeting required to be open. No public body shall conduct a meeting required to be open in any building or facility where such recording devices are prohibited.

  • TCJohnson says:

    I just want to say bravo to Ms Beadford for wanting to donate the money to the library.

    So to sum up they are spending 80,000 to save 2,000 which would have been donated back to the county.

  • JTHmishmash says:

    REALLY!? This is ridiculous, this really makes me want to show up with a camera to the next one… All of this stuff in loudoun county would really make for a good news story.

  • Dang says:

    What would happen if she used an iPhone instead of Nikon?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I think we need to organize a group trip to the next BOE meeting, cameras and video recorders at the ready. But check out this absolutely lame webpage. I can’t even easily find a list of members and nothing about a meeting schedule. I’m too wiped out right now to go looking further, if anyone finds more info, post it up here.

    http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=631

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Read this for a heaping of noxious blasts from the past:

    http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/luap/articles/entry/805/

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Good grief, I love Joe May, but he has introduced a bill to allow the Loudoun Board of Supervisors to appoint the BOE members instead of the Circuit Court. Of course I think the Circuit Court has not exactly done a great job with this, but the thought of this 9-0 BOS appointing them makes me even more nervous.

    http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2012/hb801/

  • Liberal Anthropologist says:

    I am in favor of a group visit to the next BOE meeting with cameras. No disturbing the meeting. But after its over, filming him on the street as he goes to his car. It looks like he could use some more attention. Let’s see him sue us. In fact, I may issue FOIA requests on him just because he is acting suspicious. We should go through this guy with a fine tooth comb. If anyone knows any details on this guy and why he did this, post them here.

    And if Scott Littner wants to come on here and explain why he thought this was a good idea, I am sure all would be interested. Otherwise, see you at the next meeting Scott.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    EIGHTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.

    All over a photo of a public meeting.

  • Hillsboro says:

    Tom Jackman does a great job covering these outrageous stories that LTM and L2D try so hard to avoid.

    Unfortunately Loudoun is ripe with them.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Very true, Hillsboro, he also did a great job on Ron Speakman and the notorious penis photo. The LTM avoids stories that make the GOBGN look bad like the plague. After all, they’re partly owned by Bill Dean of all people. Leesburg Today does the best they can, but they don;t dig for stories like they should.

    It also just struck me who was Sheriff when the deputy escorted Bradford out of the meeting – GOBGN protector-in-chief Steve Simpson. If anyone else shows up with a camera to one of these meetings at least we’ll have a new competent Sheriff in charge who won;t want to be involved in any shenanigans.

  • Curious Bystander says:

    A field trip is an excellent idea. BOE hearings typically start in June and will be listed on the calendar at loudoun.gov when the schedule is set.

    Include in your FOIA request a question about Littner’s own assessment and whether he appealed it to the BOE (and followed the same rules applied to everyone else).

  • Robin Crabtree says:

    http://inter1.loudoun.gov/cgi-bin/db2www.exe/viewccal/viewccal.d2w/begin?audience=&inDept=&viewMonth=2&viewYear=2012&calTypeRequest=textSmall

    The above is the link to the county calendar. I don’t see anything for the BOE. The email address for the BOE is boe@loudoun.gov.

    Anyone can request to be regularly notified via email or other means of all meetings and receive the agendas, etc. just as is posted for many county offices. This is all public information.

    If you really want a feeling for what’s going on, attend the next hearing date which is this Monday at 10am in courtroom 5, I believe. I attended the first one – this will be the third. From my observations, Litner deserves all of the criticism he is receiving. If he is as disrespectful to the court as I observed, it isn’t a stretch that he was a pompous dictator to Ms. Bradford on his own turf.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I’m bummed we need to wait until June for this field trip!

    Why is there no listing of BOE members??? Does anyone know who else is on this committee besides this tool Littner?

  • Robin Crabtree says:

    UPDATE: The trial is at 1 p.m. on Jan. 30 in Courtroom 2F, General District Court Judge Julia Cannon.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Why am I not surprised that Littner runs a mortgage company???

    http://www.powerprofiles.com/profile/00005145692990/SOURCE+FINANCIAL+GROUP+INC-ALDIE-VA

  • Curious Bystander says:

    Ed Mauer is on the BOE – has been a member for at least 6 years. He and Littner are routinely rude and arrogant to tax payers who appeal their assessment and staff.

  • NoMoreSecrets says:

    I also hope that the “journalist” or “reporter” will learn from this. She shows up in our neighborhood, takes photos of us and publishes them in papers or on her bolg, without any permission from us whatsoever. She shows up with her big camera to all sorts of events inferring she is “on assignment” when she is just covering things for her personal blog (is she even employed by the Patch at all? Was she REALLY on assignment At the BoE meeting???).

    Ms HOA also tries to use the camera as intimidation when speaking to people, threatening to either publish, or not publish the story (depending upon what you want) unless you tell her what she wants to hear. She also “barks” at anyone and everyone who disagrees with her (ask the poor women who attended a neighborhood exercise class…I am surprised she didn’t file suit against them).

    Although I believe the BoE was wrong, this woman is also looking for a “free ride” …..she has a reputation for threatening lawsuits. BOTH parties are rude and arrogant!

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    That may be the case, but she still had a right to take a photo at a public meeting.

    I don’t know how John Flannery can sleep at night after billing the County at least $54,000 on this ridiculous mess.

  • sonic says:

    Lansdowne is the subject of intense public scrutiny because a $90 million high school is proposed to be built on fill dirt in the middle of it. More than one reporter will be coming around — with big cameras — to take photos on public property. That’s one of the annoying things about living in a free country.
    Is Lansdowne gated? If not, it should be. It sounds like “our neighborhood” has a country club mentality.

  • NoMoreSecrets says:

    This “nimby” and “our neighborhood” mentality is more from those opposing the school … Imagine – a school, that promises to be the most economical over the long run (Hatrick’s bus budget will significantly decreased with a neighborhood school…he no likey), built on land that is NOT on route 7 prime economic development zone, in a neighborhood where over half of the kids attending will live, where kids can quickly escape from an emergency situation BECAUSE THEY CAN WALK HOME (their own or a friend’s) FASTER THAN ANYONE CAN DRIVE to or from any other school in an emergency….WHAT A TRAVESTY!

    Unbiased reporters welcome — that is NOT “Ms.HOA”. Credible reporters ask before snapping shots, especially when our kids are in the shots!

  • AFF says:

    It’s a good thing she wasn’t trying to get pictures or video of a police officer performing their duties.
    She would have ended up with a hickory shampoo followed by an arrest for disorderly conduct.
    Shoot. Try going into the “Mall of America” and taking photos- you very well could end up being detained and questioned with a follow up visit from the FBI ( and a permanent file with DHS)

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    The two things of major interest to me here are the implication that the incident is connected in more than just a coincidental way with the NCC’s appealed assessment, and Mr. Flannery’s BILL.

  • NMS:

    Sounds like you have a personal issue.

    Do you defend the idea that this much money would be spent over a perfectly legal photo? It matters ZERO whether she was a journalist or a 5 year old child. EVERYONE has the right to take pictures at these events if they are not disrupting things.

    Even people you don’t like for some reason.

    So, what is your point? Are you defending this expense by the county or are you not? Are you in favor of spending more on this?

    It sounds like this woman was doing nothing wrong, and even if you don’t like her, you will have to do better than crying about her being annoying to you and your friends. Sounds a little like Junior High School to me.

  • Elder Berry says:

    Don’t want a high school here, don’t want a fire station there, don’t want the public doing what the public is allowed to do. Just money getting wasted all over the darn place.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    LA, junior high school bullshit is what fuels Loudoun politics, unfortunately.

  • sonic says:

    Sixth grade girls.

  • Jonathan Weintraub says:

    Where are the cost and legal controls? Who approved the legal course of action? Who granted the BOE the authority to commit the funds that they may or may not have?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Mean Girls, sonic, Mean Girls.

    I have no clue why, but the BOE is run by the Circuit Court and they have ordered the payment of these legal fees. I don’t get it.

  • [...] basics of this issue over at the BOE are in LI’s post here.  10′s of thousands (so far) over a picture.  I found this kind of waste SO OUTRAGEOUS that [...]

  • NoMoreSecrets says:

    LA, I believe I stated in my original post that the BOE was wrong, “Although I believe the BoE was wrong…”. Her actions do not excuse theirs — but I also hope she starts treating the rest of us wuth the respect she DEMANDS ATTHE TOP OF HER VOICE from others! That’s all. I also question why the County granted so much in lehgal fees…and whover authorized those fees at BoE as well should lose their job!
    Clearer?

  • sonic says:

    NMS, clearer that you know very little about the Open Band contract. Clear that you don’t know the woman the BOE refuses to apologize to but are fine with trashing her name on a blog while you hunker down in a coffee shop somewhere. Clear that as long as 300 walkers, including your kid, get out if there’s a lockdown, you don’t care about 1300 kids from Ashburn who will attend Lansdowne’s custom high school. Clear you are ticked off about an “exercise class” that was advertised on the Internet, used a boom box at 8 am on Saturday morning on the HOA lawn at no charge to the vendor, and violated several HOA covenants. Clear that home ownership in Lansdowne conveys World Entitlement to Everything.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Sonic, the pro-Lexington Seven people violated more than a few covenants as well with signs and fliers. Did those upset you too? What role did John Whitbeck and HOA “leadership” have in those issues?

  • sonic says:

    yes, and i don’t know.

  • Loudoun's Soul (formerly known as NOT LO) says:

    Virginia Code (see below) designates the circuit court as the appointer, that’s why it would take an act of the General Assembly to allow the BOS to do so. However, even if this were the cleanest, most transparent BOS, I’m not sure that I would want the BOS to appoint the members of the BOE, since the role of the BOE is to judge the quality of the Assessor’s work and the Assessor is an appointee of the BOS.

    § 58.1-3373. Permanent board of equalization.

    Any county or city which uses the annual assessment method or the biennialassessment method authorized under § 58.1-3253 in lieu of periodic generalassessments, may elect to create a permanent board of equalization in lieu ofthe board of equalization required under §§ 58.1-3370 and 58.1-3371. Suchboard shall consist of three or five members to be appointed by the circuitcourt of such county or city, or the circuit court having jurisdiction withinsuch city

  • NoMoreSecrets says:

    Sonic – I will enjoy walking with my grand kids to school …and I don’t drink coffee…but thanks. Oh, and check your facts on the boom box and covenants issues.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Please, enough of the sideline about the boom box, it’s totally irrelevant.

    I could care less how nice or not nice the photographer was or is, she had every right to take that photo.

  • Nomoresecretsisevil says:

    NMS, reporters don’t ask before they take pictures and that’s a dumb statement to make showing you are here only to libel beverly bradford. A reporter may come up to you after the photo is taken to ask for your name and sometimes they do not. It does not matter if beverly is writing for her blog or for Patch or for her diary, anyone has the right to photo people out in the public. You are a troll. Trolls are angry little people who just hate. You think you are better than others and you snub your nose to them. This BOE lawsuit is an incredible waste and a true disaster. Scott Litner and you ought to start a club together.

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