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Bypass Truth Coalition Lunsford Letter

Bypass Truth Coalition Lunsford Letter

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Published by cvilleweekly
Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford explains her decision not to prosecute the Bypass Truth Coalition.
Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford explains her decision not to prosecute the Bypass Truth Coalition.

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Categories:Types, Legal forms
Published by: cvilleweekly on Feb 19, 2014
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03/18/2014

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OFFICE
OFTHE COMMONWEALTH'S
ATTORNEY
lor
lhe
COUNTY OF
ALBEMARLE
DENISE
Y.
LUNSFORD
DARBY
G,
LOWEco\ lo\\r
[AI-TI]
s .\Tl
oRt\
E\
DEPL r\', (
Onl\lON\\'t:ALTH
S
ATTOR|EY
PHONE:
(;134)e72-.r072
February
18'
20L4
rrJStl;1',^orr"
FAX:
{'1r,r)e72-.r0e3
*3ffHf$r'.:#iffil^
Kristina Stoney, Senior Assistant
Attorney
GeneralOffice
of the
Virginia
Attorney
General900
East
Main Street
Richmond,
Virginia
23219
Virginia State
Board
of
Elections
ATTN:
Chris Piper, Election
Services
1100
Bank
Street
Richmond,
Virginia
23219
Michael Menefee,
Program
ManagerVirginia Department of AgricultureOfflce of
Charitable
&
Regulatory Programs
P.O. Box
1163Richmond,
Virginia
23218
RE:
Complaint regarding Charlottesville
Bypass
Truth
Coalition
To
Whom
lt
Mav Concern:
I
have received and
reviewed
Ken
Boyd's
letter
dated
october
30,2013,
addressed
to
the
Internal
Revenue Service, Office
of the Attorney
General, Virginia State Board
of
Elections, and Virginia
Department of
Agriculture.
The
matter
was
forwa rded
to
me
for
review
pursua
nt to Virginia
Code
Annotated
Sections 24.2-946.3 and 24.2-1019.1I
During
our
initial
conversation,
Mr.
Boyd
and ldiscussed
an assertion
that
others (unnamed)
had
questioned
whether
I
might
have
a
conflict of interest
rega
rding
this
situation.
As
ldisclosed
to
Mr.
Boyd,
ldonothavea
position
on
the
western
Bypass. Neither
I
nor
anyone
in my
household
has
made
contributions
to the
Charlottesville-Albemarle Transportation Coalition, lnc., nor
have
we publically supported either
side in
this
debate.
Because
Mr.
Boyd was unable
to
provide
me
with
specifics, any discussion
or contemplation of
a
perceived conflict would involve pure speculation on
my
part.
In
the end,
Mr.
Boyd
indicated
that
he
felt that
I
would
render
a
fair
decision
on this
matter.
Because
Mr.
Boyd
is
the complainant
in
this matter and
I
am aware
of
no actual or
potential
conflict,
I
have proceeded
to
investigate
and respond
to
the complaint.
.IIO EAST
HICH
STREET.
CHARLOTTESVILLE.
VIRCINIA
22902
 
Pursuant
to Mr.
Boyd's
letter,
my discussions
with
him, and his
report
to
Detective
EliseEspinoza
of the Albemarle County
Police
Department,
it
is
my
understanding
that Mr.
Boyd
is
concernedregarding
advertising
by
the
charlottesville
Bypass
Truth
coalition
prior to
the
November
5,
2013
General
Election.
Specifically, he
requested
an
"investigation of the
tax and
registration status of the,Charlottesville
Bvpass
Truth
Coalition'."
As
Commonwealth Attorney
for
Albemarle
County,
violationsof
Virginia,s
campaign
Finance Disclosure Act alleged
to
have
occurred
in
Albemarle
county
must
be
reporied
to
me.
Although
Mr.
Boyd sets
forth
several questions in
his
letter,
my
review of this
matter
is
limited to
a
determination
of
how
and
whether
to
proceed
with
regard
to violations of Virginia lawwhich
are
or
may
be
criminal
in
nature.lnvestigation
|nadditiontomydiscussionswithMr.Boydandreviewofhis|etterandinformationprovidedby
him, Detective
Espinoza
and
I
met
with
representatives
of
the charlottesville-Albemarle Transportation
coaIition,Inc.(,,cATco,,).AdditionaIlY,lreviewedadvertisementsthatwerep|acedinVariousmedia
outlets, filings
made
both loca
;and
on
the state
level, and
information
provided
by
cATco
Finally'
I
reviewed state statutes
and discussed
the
requirements of
such
with
the Virginia
State Board
of
Elections. Information
concerning
the
specifics
of
my
investigation
is
set
forth
more
fully
below'
Facts
CATCo
was
incorporated
on
or about
August
3'
1988'
as
a
Virginia
non-stock
corporation
A
review of the
onlin"
records
ot ihe
virginia
state corporation commission
reveals
that
the corporatlon
currently
is
in good
standing
O"
i"pt"tJ"t
11' 2013' CATco.filed
a
Fictitious
Name
Certificate
in
the
A|bemar|ecountycircuitcourtsettingforthitsintenttoconductbusinessas,,Char|ottesvi||eBYpass
Truth
coalition.,,
As
Mr.
Boyd
,t.t",
i-n
hi,
l"tt"r,
there
is
no
corporation known
as
the
charlottesville
Bypass
Truth
coalition.
rn,tt"j,inrco
has
decided
to
do business
usinB
this
name
ln
filing the
FictitiousNamecertificate,cATcosatisfieditsobIigation,pursuanttoVirginiacodeAnnotatedSection
59.1-69,tonotifythepublicthatitwouldbedoingbusinessunderadifferentnameSpecifically'thatit
would transact
business
as
chJoitesvitte
aypassiruth coalition
(the
"coalition")
This
filing
is
publicly
discoverable by
a
review ot
r"iora,
o" iif"
with
the Albemarle
County
circuit court
and allows
the
public
to
determine the
entity
and
p"""tt
*tt"
do
business
as
the
coalition'
specifically'
cATco''
Thereafter, in
late
october
2013'
CATCo
contracted
for
radio
and
television
advertising
whichwourd run
from
rate
october
"-p
a
."0
"^
November
5, 2013,
the date of
virginia's
2013 General
Erection.
This aaue.tising was
ioniru.i"o
r",.
uv
Mountain
High
Media
for
"Bypass
coalition"
and
by
George Larie, President
and
Treasurer
of
CATCo
ln
undertaking
to
Investigate
this
matter'
I
searched
the
internet for
radio' television' or
print
advertisements
thu,
.ry
n.u" f .rrplaced
by
cATCo.
on
the
Facebook
page
titled "charlottesville
Bypass
Truth
coalition,"
rtounJfinlsto
an
apparent
radio
advertisement
described on
the
Facebook
page
as
"Radio
Spot"
as
well
as
a
photo of what
appears
to
be
a
print
advertisement
in C'ville or
The
Hook.The"RadioSpot"l'ioentit'ftotit"radioadvertisementMr'Boydprovidedtome'Additionally'l
'"rrr
h^'6rrtAr
refpr
to both
CATCo
and
the Coalition
as
CATCo'
t
For
the
purposes
of clarity
and
simplification
I
will
hereafter
refer
to
b
 
located what
appeared
to
be
a
television advertisement
on
YouTube.
The precise
wording
of
the
various
advertisements
is
important to
my
analysis.
Accordingly,
the
language
is
set
forth
below.The voice
over for the apparent television advertisement stated
as
follows:
For
decades,
VDOT
studies have shown
the
proposed
Western
Bypass
won't
solve
our
traffic
problems on
Route
29.
Duane
Snow and
Rodney
Thomas
voted
to
bring
the
proposed
Bypass
within
1,800
feet of
six
local
K-12 schools.
We need, and
our children
deserve,
a
cheaper,
safer,
and more
effective
solution.
Snow
and
Thomas reversed decades
of
policy
under
darkness, near
the
stroke
of midnight.
On November
5, exercise
your right
to
vote
in
the light of
day.
We
can
pursue
an
alternative
to
ease
traffic
on
29
and make
our
kids
proud to
call
Albemarle
County
home.
Paid
for
by
the Charlottesville
Bypass
Truth Coalition.The
Facebook link
identified
as
"Radio
Spot"
stated:Thanks
to
a
midnight vote
thousands
of
parents
across
the
region
are
wondering why
their
kidsand every
student who will
follow
in
their footsteps
face
construction of
a
four
lane
highway
within
600
yards
of
their
schools.
Some
children would
go
their
whole
career,
K-12,
within
the
halo
of
exhaust
from the
proposed
Western
Bypass.
Even
VDOTstudies
saythe
proposed
Bypass
won't
help
ease
traffic
on
Route
29.
What
we
stood
to
gain
from
the
back
room
deals
Snow
and
Thomas made in Richmond
are
anything but
clear.
The
good
news
is
this road
is
not
a
done
deal.
We
can
take
back
the
power
to
shape
our
community.
Let's
improve
29
where
it
stands,
the cheaper,
safer, more
effective solution.
On
November
5th,
lets
hold
Duane
snow
and
Rodney
Thomas accountable
for
their actions.
This
isn't about
politics. lt's
about
policy.
For
Charlottesville
and
Albemarle's
future,
vote
for
new
leadership
on November
5th,
people
who
look
to the
future,
not
the
past,
to
solve
the
challengesfacing
our community today.
Learn more
about where the
candidates stand
at
bypasstruth.com.
Paid
for
by
the
Cha
rlottesville
BVpass
Truth
Coalition.Finally,
the
print advertisement stated
as
follows:
Take
action
at
the
polls
on November
5th. The
Western
Bvoass
is
not
a
done deal.
For decades
we
have all
known
that
the
proposed
Western
Bypass
isn't
a bypass
at
all.
Nor
will
it
improve
traffic
on
Route
29.
Even VDOT
says
so.
You
can help
our community
take
the
first
step
toward finding
a
long
term
alternative solution
that
serves
Charlottesville's needs.
Let'shold
each
other
accountable
in
finding the
best
traffic
solutions for our community.
Learn
more about where your
candidates
for
supervisor stand on
the
Bypass.
www.facebook.com/bypass
truth
or www.bvpasstruth.com
tssues
The
question
I
must
address
is
whether
CATCo is
in
violation
of the
Virginia Campai8n
Finance
Disclosure Act
of
2006
with
regard
to
the
above
advertisements. My
analysis
assumes
that
CATCo
contracted
with
local media
outlets for
advertising and
CATCo
spent
an aggregate
of
more
than
5200
in
placing
the advertisements.3
Based
on
my
contact
with
the
State Board
of
Election ("58E")
and
theAlbemarle
Electoral Board,
I
find
that
no
Independent Expenditure Report,
a
document
available on
the
3
The
sales
order for WCNR\WINA\WQMZ alone
is
for
a
total
of
56,048.00
for
138 spots
over
a
two
week
period.

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