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Some McDonald assets frozen, jointly-owned exempted in EDA civil case

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It was somewhat of a mixed message handed down by Judge Clifford L. Athey Jr. following nearly three days of a motions hearing on the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority civil litigation. That litigation seeks recovery of a minimum total of $17.6 million from nine defendants – kind of like the federal Mueller indictments from the Russia probe, a mix of human and corporate entities.

Sheriff, ITFed principal Tran, Donnie Poe named with McDonald in EDA civil suit

At primary issue was a plaintiff request to freeze $3.56 million dollars in assets of former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald. EDA lead attorney Cullen Seltzer noted that in the wake of information from the previous day that requested levy had been reduced to $3.17 million dollars. Seltzer apparently was referencing McDonald defense attorney Jay McDannell’s assertion from his client that two real estate parcels in possession of McDonald real estate companies were being held in “a constructive trust” on behalf of the EDA.

That assertion goes to the heart of the defense presented on McDonald’s behalf during the motions hearing, which may be a clue to her defense at trial. That defense, addressed by McDannell during his closing argument Friday afternoon, is that his client may have misinterpreted exactly how much authority to initiate real estate transactions on the EDA’s behalf her board had granted her.

Testimony from several current and former EDA board members Friday indicated that the amount of trust and confidence they had placed in their executive director often led to initiatives being undertaken and reported and/or approved later as necessary.

However, several of those EDA board members also testified they had never authorized the executive director to unilaterally transfer the large amounts of money involved in some of the real estate transactions in question.

Simple misunderstanding with a laissez-faire board of directors or something more nefarious?  Stay tuned as the case moves toward a July 17 hearing.

The EDA Board of Directors, chaired by the late Patty Wines, and its executive director to Wines’ right, listen to County Administrator Doug Stanley’s monthly update on County business, circa April 2017.

As for the court’s motions ruling of Friday, May 31, as he hinted he would during the hearing, after closing arguments Athey granted the plaintiff request for a freezing of real estate or bank accounts under sole control of McDonald or her two real estate companies, while leaving those she owns jointly with her husband or parents unattached as potential collateral against damages being sought.

That same principal was used by Athey in attaching levies on a number of automobiles – those jointly owned with relatives were not attached, while those in her name alone were.

In addressing the bank account issue the judge said he thought it important to leave McDonald, who as of May 24 is charged with four felony criminal counts related to the civil litigation, access to personal resources with which to present a defense against the charges against her.

In approaching his ruling on specific McDonald, DaBoyz and MoveOn8 LLC assets, the judge went through the specific EDA projects cited in the plaintiff response to the defense demurrers and motions. Athey noted that such hearings place the court in a difficult position because it faces what is essentially a mini-trial before discovery and all relevant evidence is before it.

Motions hearing testimony indicted the EDA Workforce Housing fiasco continued to unfold from late 2014 to November 2018 when the EDA sold the 3.5-acre parcel at the end of Royal Lane for $10, taking a $445,000 to $560,000 loss along the way for what was initially described as ‘a gift’ …

After ruling the plaintiff had met the initial burden proving the basic validity of its complaint with the adjustments made in response to the initial defense motions for added specificity, Judge Athey moved through each EDA project cited to have been involved in embezzlement or misdirection of its assets:

  • Workforce Housing – plaintiff likely to succeed in presenting its case.
  • Afton Inn – not enough evidence yet presented by plaintiff, not included in determining judgment.
  • Skyline Criminal Justice Training Academy – likely to succeed, included.
  • ITFederal $10 million loan – not likely to succeed, not included.
  • Earth Right Energy contracts – cannot find evidence likely to succeed at this juncture, not included.
  • Unlawful Town, County funds to McDonald-owned/controlled real estate – likely to succeed, included.
  • As to the specific involved real estate, the judge did not include in the plaintiff attachment McDonald and her husband’s Faith Way Drive home, her mother’s home or a day care property.
  • Properties attached against movement included 1321 Happy Creek Road and 2951 Rileyville Road in Page County.

Athey noted that he would not likely preside at the next hearing in the case on July 17 due to his September 1 departure for a seat on the Virginia Appeals Court. To accommodate the judge who takes over the case, Athey ordered a transcript of this week’s motion hearing put in the court file.

See other detail of Friday’s hearing in an upcoming Royal Examiner story, including closing arguments and the testimony of current and former EDA board members William Biggs, Ron Llewellyn, Bruce Drummond and William Sealock, called to question Defense Exhibit 8 referenced in yesterday’s motions hearing story.

EDA Attorney accuses former executive director of forging document

All did testify that they had not signed the “Confidential” Closed Session Resolution document in question, despite McDonald attorney McDannell’s attempt to head that testimony off by withdrawing the disputed document from evidence. Noting the exhibit had already been introduced and commented on by a previous witness, Athey denied McDannell’s request to withdraw the document.

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Winchester man faces multiple charges following possible OD death at Hampton Inn

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On Saturday, January 23, 2021, Front Royal Police Department (FRPD) and Warren County EMS personnel responded to the Hampton Inn, located at 9800 Winchester Road, for a report of an unresponsive 38-year-old female. The 911 caller was identified as the female’s husband, Nathaniel E. Green, III, 42, of Winchester, who remained on scene. Despite the best efforts of FRPD Units and EMS Personnel, the female was pronounced deceased on scene.

Nathaniel Green. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

Detectives located three (3) handguns, multiple rounds of ammunition for the weapons, identifications cards belonging to Mr. Green, a pink powder and two capsules with white powder, both of which are suspected narcotics, located in the same proximity. A criminal history check revealed that Green is a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing firearms.

Nathaniel Green was subsequently arrested without incident and transported to Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren (RSW) Regional Jail, where he went before a magistrate and is currently being held without bond. Green was charged with § 18.2- 308.2 Felon in Possession of a Firearm and § 18.2-250 Possession of a Controlled Substance. A court date for these offenses is set for March 2, 2021, at 10:00 A.M., in Warren County General District Court. Further details regarding this matter cannot be released at this time due to the pending nature of the investigation.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with any further information is asked to contact Front Royal Police Detective L.J. Waller at (540) 636-2208 or by email at lwaller@frontroyalva.com.

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Front Royal man pleads guilty to dealing two fatal doses of fentanyl-laced heroin

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A Front Royal, Virginia man, who in the fall of 2017 distributed two fatal, fentanyl-laced doses of heroin, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg to a drug charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, and the possibility of a life sentence, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar, Special Agent in Charge Jarod A. Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Division, and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, announced.

Glenn Eugene Sovereign Jr., 43, of Front Royal, pleaded guilty today to two counts of distributing fentanyl.  Because the recipient of the distribution died from overdose by ingesting the fentanyl within, Sovereign faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum possible statutory penalty of life at sentencing.

Glenn Eugene Sovereign Jr. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

“When Sovereign trafficked fentanyl-laced heroin to an already-vulnerable group of people, he perpetuated their addiction and despair, and ultimately caused their death,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar stated today.  “Because of the hard work and persistence of our federal and state partners, Sovereign has been brought to justice and will spend the better part of his life in federal prison.”

“The threat fentanyl brings to our Virginia neighborhoods and families cannot be overstated. With overdoses across the area spiking in the past year, DEA Washington Division has been working hard to investigate and arrest egregious criminals such as this, who are blatantly distributing poisonous drugs and spreading death and violence across our communities.”

Sovereign admitted today that in the fall of 2017 he made regular trips from Front Royal, Virginia to Baltimore, Maryland in order to purchase heroin.

On October 24, 2017, Sovereign met with victim E.R. in Front Royal. E.R. purchased a small packet of heroin from Sovereign which contained fentanyl. Later that night, E.R. ingested the contents of the packet, and as a result died.

On or about October 25, 2017, Sovereign traveled to Baltimore to meet his source of supply, where he purchased one gram of heroin. When Sovereign returned to Front Royal, he met with victim N.C. at Sovereign’s residence where he and N.C. ingested 4-5 Ritalin pills together. Later, before Sovereign left for work, he provided N.C. with a small packet of heroin, which contained fentanyl. On or about October 26, 2017, N.C. ingested the contents of the packet, and she died.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Warren County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh is prosecuting the case for the United States.

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Sheriff’s Office seeks info on road rage shooting

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On Sunday, January 17, 2021, at approximately 7:15 PM, an alleged road rage incident involving two passenger vehicles was reported eastbound on John Marshall Highway in the area of Ashland Court. Witnesses described hearing a single gunshot, and when inspecting the trunk of their car, observed what appeared to be a bullet hole. The suspect vehicle was described as black 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer with dark tinted windows, last seen travelling eastbound onto Interstate 66. Thankfully, no one was injured during the incident.

Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to contact WCSO Deputy John Gregory at (540) 635-4128.

Vehicle shown in photo is similar to suspect vehicle. Photo courtesy of Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

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Delaware man facing multiple charges after I-81 pursuit

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A New Castle, DE, man is behind bars on multiple charges after he fled law enforcement Sunday, January 10, 2021. Virginia State Police have charged Marquez D. Adams, 27, in Shenandoah County with one felony count of eluding law enforcement, one count of reckless driving by speed, one count of reckless driving failure to maintain control, one count of driving with a revoked license, and one count of driving with a phone in hand.

Marquez D. Adams. Photo / RSW Regional Jail

State Police initiated the traffic stop at approximately 7:50 p.m. as a 2002 BMW 330CI was traveling South on Interstate 81 at the 286 mile-marker in Shenandoah County. The violation was for speeding, as the BMW was driving 100 mph in a posted 70 mph zone.

The pursuit continued onto Rt. 42 in Woodstock, Rt. 11 in Edinburg, and in Mount Jackson before ending back on I-81 South. The BMW eventually ran off the left side of the roadway causing it to collide with a State Police patrol car before being contained on the right shoulder on I-81 at the 263-mile-marker. The driver, Adams, was taken into custody and transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

No troopers were injured during the course of the pursuit.

The pursuit reached speeds of up to 130 mph.


Vehicle pursuit through Warren County results in multiple struck vehicles before ending on 6th Street in Front Royal

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Vehicle pursuit through Warren County results in multiple struck vehicles before ending on 6th Street in Front Royal

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On Monday, January 11, 2021, at approximately 4:32 PM, a Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a Mercedes travelling at a high rate of speed in the area of Riverton. The WCSO deputy attempted to stop the Mercedes for a traffic violation in the area of 522 Park and Ride, and the driver of the Mercedes refused to obey and yield for the deputy. The driver of the Mercedes then crossed a concrete traffic barrier, driving into the opposite lane of travel where the Mercedes struck an occupied vehicle, failed to stop and then continued eastbound onto Interstate 66.

The driver of the Mercedes continued to accelerate at a high rate of speed and the deputy lost sight of the vehicle and terminated the pursuit. Within a short time after the termination of the pursuit, local citizens began calling the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications 9-1-1 Center to report a Mercedes driving recklessly, forcing other motorists off the road and passing dangerously across the double yellow lined roadway of John Marshall Highway travelling into the Town of Front Royal. WCSO deputies responded to that area and located the aforementioned Mercedes. As WCSO deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver of the Mercedes continued to refuse to yield and took flight at a high rate of speed onto Leach Run Parkway.

The pursuit ended on 6th Street in the area of Manassas Avenue, in Front Royal, when it struck several parked vehicles and one occupied vehicle. Charges against the driver of the Mercedes, whose name was not released because they were determined to be a juvenile, are pending the Virginia State Police investigation of the collision. Warren County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Warren County Fire and Rescue, Front Royal Police Department and Virginia State Police. Any questions pertaining to the crash investigation should be directed to the Virginia State Police.


Delaware man facing multiple charges after I-81 pursuit

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Accused 2008 murderer of Buddhist monk in Fauquier denied bond

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The 62-year-old Korean man arrested November 30 in Georgia for the 2008 murder of Du Chil Park, also known as Buddhist Monk Mogu, was denied bail in his first court appearance since being extradited to Fauquier County on December 15.

Won Yong Jung was in Fauquier County General District Court on December 23 seeking release on a cash bond. As initially reported by “Fauquier Now”, that bond was denied following a 20-minute hearing during which the prosecution described the knife attack on the 56-year-old Park as “brutal” and contended Jung remains a threat, not only to flee due to the gravity of the Second-Degree Murder charge and the top end 40-year sentence it carries, but to the community at large.

Accused murderer Won Yong Jung. Courtesy Photo Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office

As noted by Fauquier Now, in denying the bond request Judge Allison Coppage ruled for Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Jamey Cooke’s arguments that the defendant, who utilized an English to Korean translator during the hearing, had not effectively countered the prosecution’s case against bond. Jung’s next scheduled court date is April 8 for a preliminary hearing on the evidence at the root of the Commonwealth’s Second-Degree Murder case against Jung.

As Royal Examiner initially reported following Jung’s arrest in his home area of Duluth, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, over 12 years earlier Park’s body was discovered several days after his death from multiple stab wounds at his Free State Road property in Marshall. Information released by Fauquier authorities in the wake of his 2008 murder indicated Park came to America in 1998 and established the Jungtosa Zen Buddhist Temple in the Springfield area of Fairfax County, moving the temple to Marshall in March of 2004 and continuing his healing work in acupuncture and moxibustion, the latter also “an oriental medicine therapy”.

Born in Kyong Ju, South Korea around 1951-52, Fauquier authorities also noted that “in the 1970’s/80’s Park was an activist against former Korean military governments. He was imprisoned in 1974 for hiding an activist on the run and then became a Monk in 1978” and “operated a small temple in Chung Noung, a part of Seoul, where he treated poor people with acupuncture and moxibustion.”

A Warren County resident with connections to Park and his healing work as Monk Mogu, noted he often travelled to the Front Royal area to treat children and adults, some with serious physical disabilities. “His Mantra was always ‘to help alleviate pain for all sentient beings’,” that area friend told this reporter.

It will be interesting to hear the prosecution address motive in Jung’s alleged murder of Du Chil Park, or Monk Mogu as he was known to patients and friends of his temple.

Du Chil Park, also known as Monk Mogu – Courtesy Photo

Fauquier authorities make arrest in 2008 murder of Marshall-based Buddhist Monk

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