A Shameful Travesty of a Deal and a Meeting

By Loudoun Insider

  Revised Photo!

  School Board Pokes Public In The Eye

Wow.  I am almost rendered speechless (in a digital sense) after attending my first public meeting in some time.  I seriously thought I was back before the last tone deaf Board of Supervisors trying to will some sense into their heads.

The deal is the incredibly bad deal to purchase the Wheatland Farm site for a three school mega-plex in the proverbial middle of nowhere at a ridiculously inflated price with amazingly one-sided terms.  The meeting was some kind of hybrid presentation/public input session at Lovettsville Elementary School.  None of those “leading” the meeting could agree on just what the hell the meeting was all about and what the ground rules were.  The crowd was 95% against the deal and they only got more irate as more information trickled out, more obfuscation was spewed, and more half-assed attempts at censorship were made.  More below the fold.

The moderator for this horse and pony show tried to set ground rules that would not allow any questions on price, location, or other sites.  And no mentioning of anyone by name.  All of which which elicted a chorus of boos and protestations.  So Sam Adamo, your affable host for the evening’s festivities, answered one of the first questions from the irate audience by rambling on about some other deal that didn’t work out.  These rules were only for the public, you see.  Mr. Moderator even tried to censor applause, but he backed off after he found he had little control.

Near pandemonium and fisticuffs almost broke out when someone had the temerity to mention the fact that the school board’s attorney once worked for Sal Cangiano, the seller.  Mr. Moderator tried to confiscate the mike from the speaker, who moved away, then Mr. Moderator laid his hand on someone protesting, after which a festive screaming match occurred.  Unbeliavable!  This was obviously a sore subject for the powers that be.

This deal stinks to high heaven.  It really does.  Numerous people presented first hand knowledge of just how inflated the purchase price for this land is when compared to recent comparable sales and assessments.  LCPS was offering even less money per acre for portions of this site in 2006 at the height of the real estate bubble!  Plenty of people asked for referrals for LCPS’s appraiser so they they could get similar deals.  But of course in this market any sale at all at any price is too much to ask for.  But LCPS had to move fast on this deal!  Who cares about the joint School Board – Board of Supervisors Committee and their forthcoming standards!  We need this site NOW!  No other site will ever do!

One gentleman remarked that he had negotiated a lot of deals and the outcome is almost always one of two options.  Your terms and my price, or my terms and your price.  It is oh so painfully obvious after sitting through this abomination of a meeting that the seller in this case got his price AND his terms.  Those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.

This deal is set to close in June.  Most of the studies talked about will not be close to complete by that date.  Most importantly the land use approvals from the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will not even be applied for by the time this deal closes!  I guess the School Board, after being thoroughly embarrassed and discredited in their stinky Lenah Run deal, decided to really stick it to the BOS and dare them to not give approval for this absolutely incompatible with the comp plan site.  When asked what they would do with it should they not get land use approval, the response was, well we can try to trade it for other land or have the BOS declare it as surplus property.  And do they think they could get even half of what they paid for it???  Of course not, but who gives a flying you know what – it’s only the taxpayers dollars and our buddy Sal got his deal on his terms!

The elected officials there looked mighty shell shocked to me, as they should have.  Only Jim Burton looked confident, and that’s probably because he has been against this deal from the start, and publicly said so.  I’ve seen stirred up, pissed off groups of citizens like this before in Loudoun County, and we all know what happened to the reputations of those ”leaders” who didn’t pay heed to their real bosses – the voting public.  Some people think this is a done deal, but this battle has only just begun.  I absolutely promise that.  I am just getting started, along with many others.


Comments

  • EMP says:

    I think the demonstration tomorrow is going to be impressive. The buzz on the street is fierce. People are Pissed. There are folks within a stones throw of the site that just found out about this today!

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    Can anyone substantiate Lovettsville Lady’s info regarding school board members being recalled by 10% of the voters? Does 10% equal 10% of registered voters or those who actually voted? P. Godfrey, along w/ a few other SB members, needs to be replaced by someone who actually thinks for themselves. Getting the signatures might be easier than one might think.
    As far as the BoS is concerned, I think they really need to stand up and protect the citizens of Loudoun from SB contracts that finalize BEFORE all studies are completed. No matter where schools are placed, we can all agree that making a deal without knowing if the land can actually be used for the purposed expressed in said contract, is either irresponsible or corrupt.

  • Godfrey couldn’t even be bothered to attend that afwul public hearing even though half the site is in her district. For all the grief I;ve given Bergel at least she showed up to face the music, along with Reed.

    I believe something illegal needs to occur to get a board member tossed, but this contract is looking worse and worse with every passing day and every additional revelation and unearthed connection. We may just be able to make that case.

    Of course expecting Plowman to look into any of this is wishful thinking. He’s never gotten involved in developer issues, except on their behalf. NEVER. Current AG Bill Mims is way too tied in with the developer crowd, even being part of deals as an investor. so that avenue is out as well. That leaves us with the feds, and they move as quick as molasses. If this deal goes forward a civil suit is assured, and discovery should be fascinating. That may be the best opportunity to uncover any real stench.

  • Harley D says:

    After the meeting of the 29th of april I was convinced of the arrgance of Dr. Adamo, Mr. Brown, LCPS, and Sally Kurtz regarding any input from the general public, They felt it would be an informational meeting for the benifit of the community. Didn’t work out did it? For Ms Kurtz to suggest to use the sports fields in purcellville showed that she has lost all reasoning we need better representation than that

  • EMP says:

    If this land were being offered for Fire sale prices, we’d understand the incredible sense of urgency and desperation exhibited by Kurtz and Bergel. But Sal’s gonna almost double his investment in two years. Why circumvent the checks and balances of the Planning commission and SPEX process, with all the associated public meetings so we can write a huge check to Cangiano?

  • haigek says:

    The school system does need to operate on a very long-range plan, they do need to be proactive and bank land for future schools, they must be prepared for projected growth… but they don’t need to rush into bad deals, they shouldn’t ignore (and, indeed, work to circumvent) the county’s long term plans, and they ought to think about the striking similarities between their Wheatland deal and the Fields Farm deal engineered by the former Board of Supervisors. This deal truly is deju vu, but even worse — this deal makes Fields Farm look like a bargain! And we all know how much fun Fields Farm and Woodgrove turned out to be.

  • haigek says:

    By the way, why hasn’t anyone asked who inserted the language in the current contract concerning the demolition of the historic structures on the land in question. Does anyone seriously believe it was the seller’s desire to write in a clause that will cost him money to carry out? It’s clearly an attempt by the school system to have this dirty work over-and-done-with before they own the property, and before the public will have this issue as one more in their arsenal against the special exception for the monstrous schools complex that’s proposed.

  • Tim says:

    I live less than a mile from the site in question. I — and many others — are relying on the Board of Supervisors to stop any further action that will commit the expenditure of over $11,000,000 of taxpayer money for the Cangiano/Burgess land. It is the wrong place for a school complex for a host of legitimate reasons (read above). It should be clear that the public is against this site but the School Board and its staff apparentlyn view public opinion as just a predictable irritant. I am confident the Board listens to and respects public opinion, and recognizes its responsibility to be good stewards of the public fisc. We allI look forward to the Board’s prompt action to stop the sale of this land.

  • I’m laughing too hard over here.

  • Same here, we’ll see who has the last laugh.

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    Am I missing something? What’s so funny?

  • Pissed in Wheatland says:

    Attended the BOS meeting last night where Public Input was recieved. 59 people spoke against this deal, 0 people spoke in favor. To say the BOS got an earful would be an understatement. We will see if York rises to the occassion and provides the leadership needed to kill this deal before it goes from bad to worse.

  • G. Stone says:

    Pissed in Wheatland

    Now that is a good name.

    Hello , I’d like you meet my friend Pissed In Wheatland.

    Well hello, can I call you Pissed or is it Mr. Wheatland.

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    I’m also pissed in Wheatlands. G. stone, would you like to meet me too?

  • G. Stone says:

    ” I’m also pissed in Wheatlands ”
    - Ready to Rumble

    I am confused. If you are Pissed in Wheatland then who the hell is Pissed in Wheatland ? and does he know your using his name ?

    I would hate to be the mailman in Wheatland.

    Will the real Pissed in Wheatland please stand up.

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    Isn’t it amazing at how easy it is to confuse G. Stone AND make BPM laugh?
    Looks like 95% of the posts on this blog have something constructive to contribute to what many have agreed is a corrupt system for locating schools. The others, well, they make feeble attempts at humor.
    I’ll be the first to admit that building these schools on the Miller Property may not be the answer, but building them in Wheatlands is out-right ridiculous. Anyone who takes time to weigh the facts on this issue might see that for themselves.
    Also, if G. Stone or BPM, lived on well water and had a huge complex contracted to build next to them, I’m sure even they would want hydro studies to be completed BEFORE the contract was approved by the county. The fact that this won’t happen is only a fraction of the corruption occurring in this endeavor.
    Ok, I’m done. Your turn to try to write something “humorous.”
    BTW- if you really want to meet someone who’s pissed in Wheatlands, I’m still more than willing to have a chat with ya.

  • G. Stone says:

    Pssst. Rumble, You have not been paying attention here for very long have you ? reel it back in. You are heading straight for a …. Opps never mind moment.

    You are under the mistaken impression I want LCPS to build a school in your backyard.

    You appear to be straight up on the issue and sincere. I wish you nothing but luck in your battle.However ,you got to lighten up brother.

  • Ready to Rumble says:

    G. Stone, I reviewed this entire thread before stepping into it. After you last post, telling me to chill, I typed Wheatland into the search box to see if there are any other threads in which you are offering up any constructive input on this matter. At least some kind of clear support. Didn’t find any.
    Is there a blog string that I missed? If so, give me the title and posting number. I’ll follow your advice and lighten up after that.

    On another note, has anyone substantiated the notion that we can recall School Board reps with a petition numbering 10% of the voters? If this were the case, finding those signatures may not be as difficult as one might think. And even if such a petition would only bring about a special election, I’m sure it would also bring a considerable amount of press with it.

  • L'ville says:

    In addition to the School Board recall question, has anyone looked into what was posted in
    # 90 above? It says that the state enabling legislation does not allow a School Board to identify or negotiate for the purchase of land to build schools. If that is true then the School Board is acting beyond their authority in entering into this contract. ( According to the post above, Mr. Oheniser, who is an attorney as well as a School Board member, was the one who pointed this out.)

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