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In Defense of Jennifer McDonald and the EPA



I for one was somewhat taken aback when I saw an online blog identified as widely circulated in this area on January 18.  The blog titled “EDA Executive Director Caught In Web Of Lies Over Avtex Redevelopment” alleges intentional fabrication by EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald about ITFederal and calls for her “immediate resignation”.

But that is just the tip of iceberg.  The blog’s presumed author, founder Matthew Berdyck, adds attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency; Superfund remediation in general, ITFed CEO Tran’s plan for Royal Phoenix, not to mention a large swath of the population of Front Royal and several local media outlets.

And while we at Royal Examiner came out okay – Berdyck calls our coverage of ITFederal “nothing less than brave, and brilliant” – As lead Royal Examiner reporter on the ITFederal and Avtex site stories, I must take issue with the two main thrusts of what reads as a virulent, personal attack piece.  Those main thrusts are Berdyck’s assessment of EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald as a liar; and the Environmental Protection Agency as an accomplice, if an inept one, in an alleged failed attempt to cleanup and remediate the 467-acre Avtex site over the past quarter century.

Jennifer McDonald takes notes, under the watchful eye of Board Chair Patty Wines, at a recent EDA meeting. Photo/Roger Bianchini

Now everyone who reads Royal Examiner knows this reporter has expressed concerns about the ability of ITFederal to accomplish what has been promised in the way of jobs and economic investment in this community at the Avtex/Royal Phoenix Business Park site (check our 11-story ITFederal news folder to catch up or make your own assessment on the quality of our coverage).

However I, this news site and its Managing Editor Norma Jean Shaw, who has contributed mightily to our research of ITFederal, have never let those concerns translate into personal vendettas against anyone involved on any side of the ITFederal proposal.  In fact, we at Royal Examiner have bent over backwards to get the “other side of the story”.  And in the ongoing absence of responses from our US Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who is credited with bringing ITFederal to this community as “an economic development opportunity”; Tran’s ongoing silence; and the refusal of ITFederal Vice President Sean Parkhurst to answer questions about the project, that “other side” has for the most part come from EDA Executive Director McDonald.

And I have found McDonald to be forthcoming, if occasionally obtuse or miss-spoken on certain details – as in her public identification of an ITFed federal contract with the Nuclear Defense Department, which she later corrected to us as the “Defense Special Weapons Agency”, a subsidiary of the US Department of Defense, which Mr. Berdyck harps on in his blog post as one of Ms. McDonald’s major offenses.

Pressed publicly for other details such as the connection between Tran companies ITFederal LLC and VDN Systems, McDonald has, correctly I believe, identified them as “totally separate LLCs” without elaborating on any contractual or operational ties they may have.

And if her information on past contracts and web presences has been occasionally incomplete, it has prompted our own research that has led to the discovery of Tran company business ties and past legal and contractual histories upon which much of our ITFederal reporting has been based.  If McDonald is occasionally obtuse on details, we choose to believe that is because Mr. Tran himself may be somewhat obtuse in explaining those details to her.  Tran for his part remains aloof from the debate, either forwarding our inquiries to his ITFed Vice-President Parkhurst or letting McDonald field the tough questions publicly.

As for Berdyck’s tirade against the EPA and its Superfund program, it almost seemed as if he was a right-wing, anti-government proponent hoping to contribute to the dismantling of the EPA and any federal oversight of industrial abuses of the environment in communities nationwide, while portraying himself as an environmentalist

Yes, there have been problems at Superfund sites around the nation – the level of contamination and the difficulties they present in cleanup and/or remediation are WHY they are Superfund sites in the first place.  As one EPA employee told us about the blog’s attack on the agency and its Superfund program, “with all his whining about the job we do, let me ask him, since he doesn’t trust the government to clean up the mess, what corporation would he like to enlist to do the job?  I’m sure that they’ll all be glad to come in and clean up the mess they made just so they could make a big profit … Willfully ignorant people shouldn’t have a platform to spread such blatant stupidity.”

Jennifer McDonald, red pull over, heads back to EDA office after recent discussion with manager of fill-dirt placement work at the ITFederal Phase One site. It’s been a long and arduous haul to bring light to the end of the tunnel of economic redevelopment at the Avtex Superfund site. Photo/Roger Bianchini

And that is a main criticism of many blogs and bloggers – the TOTAL lack of editorial oversight and accountability to assure posted conclusions are based on factual assessments grounded in adequate and documented research.

Sure, some of Berdyck’s information may be based in truth. His contractual assertions about ITFederal raise questions that may bear further exploration.  And the notion that the planned ITFederal computerized-virtual world “cloud” operation tied to its federal defense department contracts, real or anticipated, could make Front Royal an ISIS target is, indeed, an interesting and troublesome thought.

HOWEVER, what I would call Berdyck’s blog hit job on McDonald, the EPA and Superfund remediation in general seems totally OFF BASE, personally vindictive and counterproductive to any rational discussion of any of these topics.



  1. Marjorie Bard

    February 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I am a 3 1/2 year victim of Matt Berdyck and I see he has now used my name as having something to do with this article/newspaper and all of his “projects” which have failed! This is the exact M.O. of his entire life: blame innocent people for things they have never done — and in vulgar language which reveals his true personality and goal to destroy reputations and even nonprofit organizations (one mine).
    He met me in a LinkedIn group discussion and within 1 day, he was writing filthy and warning emails to me — plus writing Google blogs that I am a cyber bully! I was shocked and found he had just been banned from the large LI Film and Television Professionals Group for threatening (behavior) … (here Bard describes 2 blogspots she created that describe her encounters with Berdyck)
    He has always been the aggressor and if a victim writes a response, he insists YOU are bullying and harassing HIM. He says he will sue you and ruin your life. He has over 50 fake names, many email addresses … and several private FB pages which defame every person whom he wants to destroy — and for no reason other than he likes to stalk people who succeed or have a Ph.D. after their name. — That was his first comment to me: “Don’t tell me what to do just because you have a Ph.D.
    He insists he has never been arrested for anything but minor traffic offenses — but that is not what OH and WV criminal, civil, and family court records outline from 1996 to recent years … Matt says those states have FAKED his records. Why would they? Matt says it’s a conspiracy against him which all of his victims have created. He calls it “an organized crime ring to ruin him” — and I am the leader … He has accused me of being paid by Monsanto and GE to spy on him and ruin his projects all over the country! … I have always been an academician, a nonprofit homelessness org founder/CEO, author, and filmmaker … I’m busy assisting the stable, undetectable homeless who are self-sufficient and can start new lives instead of going to downtown missions where they stagnate and never regain mainstream life again.
    I just want Matt to stop stalking innocent people … His credibility is zero … Matt needs to be stopped … I will testify the next time the federal Cybercrimes Bill is brought up in the Senate and convince its few opponents to pass the long overdue Bill …

  2. A previous victim

    February 13, 2017 at 2:56 am

    The TRUTH is as follows: is run by Matthew Berdyck. He is a notorious internet troll with a prolific history of stalking, harassing, intimidating, and bullying. The “organization” is solely operated by him. All Facebook posts, private messages, etc., come from Matthew Berdyck.
    How many people has actually helped? Probably zero. But (is helping people really) the purpose of the organization? (On face value it appears) to be an outlet for the unorganized thoughts and ramblings of one … Matthew Berdyck.
    If you come across Matthew Berdyck online, do NOT engage him – he has a lengthy … reputation for stalking. Block him immediately and make NO contact. Report all abusive practices to the platform Matthew published them on (Facebook, Google, etc.) Any serious threats, including threats of physical violence, should be documented and reported to your local police department. All other cyber crimes should be reported to the IC3 (

  3. Diane Roberts

    January 24, 2017 at 2:10 am

    This link helps discredit Mr. Berdyck and his SuperfundResearch organization. It’s all his own words

    • Betty Lawson

      February 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      I cannot be the only one to notice the erratic, nonsensical posts that this puts out on social media.

      They made this legal disclaimer

      Days after posting

      One day it is a group of people, the next day it’s a single person. There is no way this is an actual company that does any kind of environmental oversight.

      • Connie Akerson

        February 13, 2017 at 9:13 am

        I’ve read both posts and I do not understand what you are saying. The first post talks about ownership of the organization, and mentions that Mr. Berdyck consults with various people. The second post talks about the various people that consult for the organization for free.

        Why does the the fact that it’s owned by one person limit them from working with many consultants? If one goes out to confirm their statements, they find that this a registered sole proprietorship in the State of Oregon. Why is Royal Examiner not vetting these posts for accuracy? You guys just seem you’re bullying this guy for no reason and it makes the town look bad.

        • Roger Bianchini

          February 18, 2017 at 7:20 pm

          Ms. Akerson, I suggest you vet Mr. Berdyck’s claims for accuracy, as well as his well-documented eight-year history of online abuse of myriad people and organizations from policemen and agencies, to established & well-known people in numerous professions. If there is “bullying” going on it is not by the Royal Examiner and staff – Here is one slightly-(censor*d) excerpt of the type of e-mails and web posts aimed our way and linked directly to “our friend” over the past month:
          From: Royal Front []
          Sent: Monday, February 13, 2017 4:25 AM
          To: Royal Examiner News
          Subject: haha
          Listen you two bit sh*t tick inbred hillbillies, you’re either going to correct the record or we’re going to national embarrass all of you, including Mr. Barr.
          Maybe you are talentless idiots who have never accomplished anything but that doesn’t mean we are, and your own arrogance is not only going to hang you, it’s going to make me a national hero.
          This is your last (Fing-bomb) warning. Not only are we going to expose you we are going to expose your connections to Marjorie Bard and show how your articles are working to poison innocent children.
          This war isn’t not by far, and soon, we will invade your town with videographers, and put you on blast, once and for all!!
          (Fing-bomb) punks. I have fought billionaires and your campaigns are cute but to me you are nothing but a sh*t stain that can be easily bleached away.
          AND Ms. Akerson, a MORE RECENT excerpt turned over to law enforcement and our attorney from the link:

          “People will die because Roger’s selfishness and he does not care. He’s nothing more than a liar and a murderer.”

      • Betty Lawson

        February 13, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        And now Matthew Berdyck and the are threatening me!

        I have also received numerous emails from “front royal films” threatening me with physical harm and saying he will destroy my career.

        In the blog, Mr. Berdyck claims both that Alex Hwang is not involved at all with, then posts a screenshot that demonstrates he is directly involved in their postings and video work.

        Is it possible this guy is schizophrenic or just really dumb?

        I think Jennifer should sue both Alex Hwang and Matthew Berdyck for misrepresenting themselves and making false statements publicly about her.

  4. Oscar

    January 23, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Lest anyone give credibility to Matthew Berdyck, there are several things readers should know. BERDYCK is a well known Internet “troll” that makes groundless attacks on those who disagree with him. With his history … Mr. Berdyck is the LAST person that should be believed in any context whatsoever … As an indication of the contempt in which he is held by his own family, Berdyck was banned from the funeral of his own father, a retired police officer.
    (writer’s note: while we edited out several assertions about Mr. Berdyck’s criminal, educational and personal history from this post (those edits are indicated by dot-dot-dots) – since in a Dec. 19, 2016 post on his Facebook page, Berdyck himself references that he was “not invited” to his father’s funeral by his family and went out and bought a guitar instead, we included that.)

  5. Joe Swiger

    January 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    When CNN, a major TV network, interrupted Donald Trump a few days ago at his first press conference they were completely ignored plus called out by Donald Trump “You are fake news!” Misinformation became a label that fits perfectly with this tirade about the EDA. In other words overlook this CRAP and put your faith in the leaders of government and business we are lucky to have working for us at the EDA.

    Oh yes, I too smell a rat. If you have been reading the national press accounts you can make your own guess. CNN isn’t the only entity promulgating FAKE NEWS!

    So just do like President this very day Donald Trump did…ignore them and it will drift away. Plus we will find out who inspired this canard. A lie has no soul so ignore its legs.

    • Roger Bianchini

      January 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Good to hear from you Joe, I’ve always enjoyed our debates over the years because neither of us have ever made our political disagreements personal, which is at the root of this discussion. SO, here we go again — Let me ask you, isn’t it our new president who is known for his fact-less tirades & Tweets against his critics, including those who report well-documented and factually-substantiated stories on his business, bankruptcy, and legal histories; and even against satirical comedians who poke fun at him?
      As for the CNN reporter “interrupting” the President-Elect during a PRESS conference during which Trump had just attacked his news outlet, shouldn’t that outlet’s representative have a chance to respond to challenge the assertion of “FAKE NEWS” and ask the President-Elect upon what substantive information he has just made that allegation against his network? Should we not hold the President, or at the time President-Elect, to the same standard of factual substantiation as journalists?
      Now I’m no fan of CNN; however, my understanding is that the CNN story that enraged Trump, reported two FACTS — that a British intelligence agent had written of the possibility the Russians had hotel video of Trump during a visit to Moscow that could be VERY embarrassing and potentially used to blackmail him as President into pro-Russian stances; and further that American intelligence had a copy of that British intelligence report. I believe BOTH of these things have been verified as TRUE.
      What WAS, and remains in question is whether said surveillance video does actually exist, NOT that the intelligence report of its possible existence was written, and was in American intelligence hands.
      So, to dismiss this CNN report as “FAKE NEWS” seems disingenuous at best. Consequently, I do not feel it is accurate to compare it to Mr. Berdyck or other online or FAKE NEWS rantings.
      A final thought, Joe — don’t you see a little irony in the fact that when Mr. Trump refused to acknowledge the CNN reporter, dismissing his network as “FAKE NEWS”, he gave the next question to a Breitbart representative (I won’t call him a reporter since Breitbart has run afoul of media watchdogs as a “FAKE NEWS” and right-wing hate-mongering site)? — OH I forgot, its CEO was hired away to help run Trump’s presidential campaign and is now part of his transition team — never mind.

  6. Jim Irre

    January 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    “And that is a main criticism of many blogs and bloggers – the TOTAL lack of editorial oversight and accountability to assure posted conclusions are based on factual assessments grounded in adequate and documented research.”

    This really is the point of Mr. Bianchini’s story, and while it is the underlying root of a common problem on the internet, is not limited to the internet. People, when reading a story reported as fact, whether in print or electronic format, owe it to themselves to ask the question, “What is the source of this information?”

    Unfortunately, the rise of misinformation has increased the number of low-information voters, and also the level of uncivil discourse we now see in this country.

    • Roger Bianchini

      January 22, 2017 at 4:33 am

      AMEN, Jim

  7. Interested Resident

    January 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I asked for clarification as well as commented on the site regarding the lack of facts corroborating the SuperfundResearch page owners allegations as well as their lack of professionalism in reporting. Clearly the questions were not what he wanted to see. He spoke of being involved in our community and having a connection with our residents. I hope to learn more as this moves forward and if McDonald is in the wrong it can be handled in a more civilized way where she is NOT publicly crucified in the media and ‘social media’. This guys methods are ridiculous. Not interested in answering questions he made personal attacks against anyone interested in finding out more about the situation.

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