The Appearance of Impropriety
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 :::
Inside the budget bill are all kinds of interesting things. Like this one, where legislators decided against selling state-owned riverbed property in Norfolk to a developer who has greased a lot of GOP palms over the years:
The decision against the sale, included in the state budget and now up for a vote today, partially overturns a bill passed in March that would have allowed developer Wayne McLeskey to buy the riverbed in front of two properties he owns on the Elizabeth River.
The bill would have allowed McLeskey to purchase part of the marina-ripe riverbed from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission for whatever the VMRC would set as fair market value.
The deal raised some lawmakers' eyebrows because of McLeskey's many contributions to lawmakers involved in the bill's passage, and because he sits on the VMRC board.
The Daily Press points to stories it wrote back in the spring that raised questions about the matter.
Well, I did a bit of my own digging back in the spring, filing a FOIA request to get a look at the legislative history of this bill, including memos, emails and any other materials that might have shed some light on how this bill came to pass. My request was turned down at the time because the bill had not yet been signed. I was told to re-send the request in July.
In spite of this story, I may still do that, even if the effort is futile, because there seems to be a lot more going on here than just a collective legislative epiphany.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 6/20/2006