Page • Warren County Report • Early January, 01Read all issues in their entirety FREE on www.WarrenCountyReport.com
By Roger BianchiniWarren County ReportTe own o Front Royal got somegood news on Dec. , three o itscouncilmen not so good.Prior to a motions hearing that es-sentially appeared to be revisitingMay 011 arguments already ruled inthe town’s avor on sovereign immu-nity grounds and in avor o the indi- vidual deendants due to lack o le-gally-supportable detail , SolAVerdeattorney David Silek led a non-suitin the $30-million civil case alleg-ing deamation and intererence ina business contract negotiation. Onenon-suit is allowed “by right” in suchcivil cases, Silek explained.Te town will not be named in aplanned re-ling, Silek added.Tat was the good news.Te bad was that Silek explainedthe non-ling was a legal maneuverto allow the suit to be relled withnew inormation against the indi- vidual council deendants – omSayre, Chris Holloway and CarsonLauder – and possibly at least one“John Doe” deendant included in theoriginal suit.“We ran the risk o losing today andnot being able to re-le – this also al-lows the addition o new inormationto an amended complaint,” Silek toldmedia present in Warren County Courthouse or the scheduled hear-ing.Silek indicated he would be seek-ing depositions related to a re-ledand amended complaint in the nearuture and anticipated a re-ling by late winter or early spring.According to comments made by Silek on Dec. , it appears a July 009 meeting between town, solarand ederal ocials regarding the so-lar proposal may be a target o subse-quent depositions. According to pub-lic and other inormation acquired by this newspaper, that inormal meet-ing was attended by CouncilmanSayre, solar project representativeWilli Lauterbach and EPA ocialLarry Johnson. own Manager Mi-chael Graham introduced those pres-ent and let the meeting. At severalsubsequent council meetings Sayrereerenced that meeting as produc-tive and/or positive. Should they bedeposed we may nd out what theother participants’ perceptions were.Following the non-suit ling Silekwas also highly critical o what heconsiders obstructionist tactics by the deendants. Rather than be de-posed or the Dec. hearing as re-quested by the plaintis, Silek indi-cated the Virginia Municipal Leagueattorney representing the deendantshad led a motion to quash the hear-ing and the depositions.“Tis was one more opportunity toman up and admit they did wrongand avoid this unpleasantness. It isinteresting all three hid rom depo-sition. I Mr. Sayre wanted the truthto come out a deposition would havegiven him the opportunity to see thathappen. One o these three knowsthe truth o what happened,” Sileksaid. One primary “truth” sought by the plaintis, SolAVerde principalsand local businessmen Greg Hortonand Donnie Poe, is the source o a010 council leak o condential in-ternal town memos. Tat leak led toa urry o negative, ront-page pub-licity about the solar project in therun up to the 010 town election.In reviewing Judge Peatross’s May 6 ruling, it appears the court deci-sion in avor o the individual deen-dants came primarily due to a lack o inormation on several ronts. Chie among those ronts appears to be theidentity o the person who leaked acondential town attorney-clientmemo to the Northern Virginia Daily in late March or early April 010.Tat memo was issued as a resulto simultaneous, but according tothen own Attorney om Robinett,independent inquiries rom CarsonLauder and Chris Holloway.Subsequent to the condentialmemo leak and press reports aboutit, as noted in Judge Peatross’ May 6, 011 ruling, on a motion by Sayrethe three deendants voted on June14, 010 to request a criminal inves-tigation by the state police. Ater thatmotion ailed, Sayre moved to reerthe matter to a Special Grand Jury orinvestigation. Neither investigationoccurred but a cloud o public in-nuendo had been cast over the entireproject that essentially let it dead inthe water.Te ocus o the town legal opin-ion and independent investigationssought by the deendants has sincebeen identied as oten publicly discussed jobs, economic and edu-cational benets to the community rom the proposed development o asolar power eld here.
SolAVerde non-suit – the good and bad or town
Re-ling o $30-million suit against trio o council deendants planned
Despite non-suit, the three individually-named defendants, including CarsonLauder and Chris Holloway shown here, may still see plantiffs Greg Horton andDonnie Poe in court.
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