FRONT ROYAL – Since forming a limited liability company, or LLC in August, 2016, Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, who resigned via email in late Dec., 2018 as her board was meeting to discuss her performance, have spent nearly $3 million on real estate, sometimes paying as much as $1 million in cash for choice land in desirable locations.
The duo’s first recorded transaction as business entity DaBoyz, LLC occurred in September of 2016 and lists both their names on the deed, recorded as Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016, at 3:38 p.m.
That first purchase would soon be followed by others, including a peculiar transaction in which McEathron and McDonald sold the property from the aforementioned first purchase back to the original owners at a staggering loss of $600,000.
Royal Examiner learned of DaBoyz shortly after it formed, and reached out to Ms. McDonald to discuss the LLC and how she might need to conduct business in order to prevent a perceived or actual conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety. We were told by then-director McDonald it was her private business, it was unrelated to her EDA business and any concern on our part was unwarranted.
We pressed, questioning Ms. McDonald as to why she held two real estate licenses. On May 25, 2017, the Virginia Department of Professionals and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) License Lookup database indicated that she held a real estate individual license, ranked as a sole broker. Her second license was for a real estate firm.
McDonald charged with filing a false police report
After an alleged May 18, 2017 break-in at the EDA office, located on Kendrick Lane, and the subsequent arrest nearly a year later of McDonald for filing a false police report regarding an allegedly staged incident at her home at 158 Faith Way in Front Royal, This reporter wrote to Warren County Sheriff McEathron, in a June 6, 2018 email:
“I contacted your office last fall regarding the call made to the Warren County 911 Center by Jennifer McDonald alleging an incident occurring at her home at 158 Faith Way. The call came in on June 15, at approximately 21:02.
“Attached is the document that Lt. Foster forwarded to me in Sept. saying that information could not be shared at that time. Are you now able to share any information in light of the warrant of arrest for Ms. McDonald, and her charge of filing a false police report?
“Has your office turned over files, and any information contained therein to the Virginia State Police? The Front Royal Police Department was asked to cease its investigation by the EDA Board via a letter from Chairman Greg Drescher on behalf of the board, in July 2017. Was your office also asked to stop its investigation?
“If it was, did your office cease its investigation?’
“As you, your wife and Ms. McDonald appear to be business partners with real estate holdings in at least two counties, do you have a comment on how Ms. McDonald’s arrest and charge might affect that partnership?”
Sheriff McEathron’s reply, the next morning, June 19, 2018:
“Good morning Norma Jean,
“In response to your questions the case you have referenced was turned over to the VSP in March of 18, my office would have no comment on another agencies[sic] open case and no my office was not asked to “cease” our Investigation.
“As to your last question on what may ‘appear’ to you, I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.
“My wife has never been part or involved in what you call ‘business partners’!
“I have not been a ‘business partner’ as you say since September of 2017!
So, therefore, I do not have a comment on your last question.
Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s response, Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw replied on June 19, 2018, with the following email:
“Thank you for your prompt reply. I appreciate it.
“I’m so sorry to keep bothering you, but I am confused regarding the DaBoyz business. You say you have not had any “business partner” status with Jennifer McDonald since 2017… and that your wife never had any relationship with DaBoyz… yet you both listed it on your financial disclosures.
“Why would you list that, if you were not involved? Why would Mrs. McEathron do so?
“Moreover, if that relationship ended in 2017, as you stated in the previous email, why would you have listed it on the financial disclosure required by the ethics council?
“My copy of your form was signed by you on January 24, 2018, and clearly shows you listed DaBoyz, LLC and also rental property in Virginia Beach, co-owned with Jennifer McDonald. That would appear to make you and Ms. McDonald business partners, would it not?
“As you said, regarding me, ‘I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.’
“Thank you for your time,
Sheriff McEathron replied the next day, June 20, 2018, with the following response:
“Elected officials are required to report any information as it relates to the Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest forms from the Commonwealth. Those reports are submitted in the next calendar year for the previous year. Likewise elected Spouses are responsible for putting them on their forms as well even when they are not directly involved, just because a family member is so it discloses any information. When you look at my next SOEI/COI documents you will see what I was/was not in 2018. I won’t have any more comment on my personal life because it’s all in my disclosure forms as required by law.
Following the paper trail
In March of 2018, Editor Norma Jean Shaw reached out to Mrs. McEathron, the sheriff’s wife and a Warren County School Board member, who is required by Va. Code to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form.
The email, in part, stated, “Mrs. McEathron:
“In going over the financial disclosure of each member of the school board, I noticed that you had listed DaBoyz, LLC on your financial disclosure and that your husband had also listed the company on his.
“Having talked to Jennifer McDonald about her company, DaBoyz LLC last year, I was aware of its existence, but after she came to the Royal Examiner to share her story about her good fortune of winning a large sum of money over time at the Charles Town casino, I find it to be newsworthy that she has purchased real estate locally.
“I am working on a story currently and have the following questions for you:
“Are you a business partner of Ms. McDonald’s?
“If you are, what percentage of the company do you own? If not, why is the company listed on your financial disclosure form?
“Have you invested any money in her company, or towards the purchase of land?
“I would appreciate a chance to speak with you.
Mrs. McEathron sent a terse response three days later, “I filed my 2017 Statement of Economic Interest report as every elected official is required by law, every year. I have no other comment.”
Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form, filed Jan. 29, 2019, he was, in fact, a business partner of Jennifer McDonald and also a part-owner of DaBoyz, LLC, in 2017 and beyond, despite his denials in the June 20, 2018 email to Norma Jean Shaw.
Donna McEathron’s 2019 Statement of Economic Interest, signed on Jan. 30, also lists Jennifer McDonald as a business partner and similarly lists DaBoyz, LLC as an asset for the previous year, 2018. View Here
Despite Sheriff McEathron’s claims that he and the former Front Royal-Warren County EDA Director Jennifer McDonald parted company as business partners in 2017, the Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council online searchable database, which stores the Statement of Economic Interest forms for all Constitutional Officers in Virginia, says otherwise.
In fact, back on August 2, 2016, five months after EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron partnered up for several joint interviews regarding the anonymous benefactor who would fund a new $8 million regional justice academy in Warren County, (They were interviewed by this reporter in March 2016 on a radio news program which she hosted during the noon hour at a local station) they formed DaBoyz LLC, with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. DaBoyz LLC
DaBoyz LLC purchased two contiguous pieces of property on Buck Mountain Road in the Bentonville area of Warren County. The first, about 72.6 acres, was purchased from Rappawan, Inc., a local construction company, for $900,000. (Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016)
The second tract of land, about 73.3 acres, was purchased from William T. Vaught, Jr. (a local builder) for $1 million. Some Vaught family members have ownership in Rappawan Inc.; William T. Vaught, Jr. signed the deed on behalf of Rappawan Inc.
Just five weeks later, those two same land tracts were sold back to the original owners, Rappawan Inc., and William T. Vaught, Jr., for significantly less money.
The Rappawan property was sold back to Rappawan for $650,000; The William T. Vaught, Jr. property was also sold back to William T. Vaught, Jr. for $650,000. Why did DaBoyz LLC spend $1.9 million to purchase these two properties and then, a month later, sell them back to the previous owners for a total of $1.3 million? Why did DaBoyz LLC, seemingly give Rappawan/Vaught $600,000 for no discernible reason?
Sheriff McEathron and McDonald, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 68 Pine Hills Road, in Front Royal, for $60,000.
McDonald and Sheriff McEathron, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 41 acres of prime residential development land and a house at 1321 Happy Creek Road, Front Royal, for $1 MILLION CASH.
The property is near the recently-completed Leach Run Parkway, which happens to be an EDA project. Moreover, the property was listed by Century 21 Campbell Realty on 3/10/2017 and the contract was submitted on 3/12/2017. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.
Century 21 Campbell Realty is owned by Walter and Jeanette Campbell, McDonald’s aunt and uncle, the couple who announced they were donating land for an EDA “workforce housing” project. Royal Examiner broke the story that the gifted land would cost taxpayers a hefty sum. See Related Story:
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, again through their company, DaBoyz LLC, purchase a home and 102 acres at 2951 Rileyville Road in Page County, Va. for $550,000. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald purchase a house at 5617 Larry Avenue, Virginia Beach, Va. for $339,700.
EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald creates a new LLC called Moveon8 LLC.
The two properties in Warren County and the properties in Page County are transferred from Daboyz LLC to Moveon8 LLC.
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald list the Virginia Beach property for sale, asking $359,900. Over the next 5 months, they gradually lower the price. The home would eventually sell at a loss.
The property at 68 Pine Hills Rd, in Front Royal is transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.
The properties in Page County, Va. are transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.
The property at 5617 Larry Ave. in Virginia Beach, owned by Sheriff Daniel McEathron and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, is sold by Kristina McEathron, Sheriff McEathron’s daughter-in-law, for $320,400, nearly$20,000 less than the DaBoyz, LLC owners purchased it for in 2017.
Now that McEathron has announced he’ll retire on May, 1 of this year, could a real estate career be in his future? That’s hard to predict, though he and McDonald do appear to have a substantial portfolio of properties betwixt the two.
In Design Stage: VDOT projects in Warren County
I-81 Exit 300 Southbound acceleration ramp extension and bridge widening over Route 840 (Water Plant Road)
This project extends the Interstate 81 southbound exit 300 acceleration lane from the Interstate 66 westbound ramp. The purpose of this project is to to safely accommodate merging traffic and growing truck volumes on Interstate 81 at the south end of the exit 300 interchange.
The project extends the existing southbound 1,400-foot acceleration lane and 250-foot taper to a 2,030-foot acceleration lane with a 300-foot taper. The 128-foot long southbound bridge over Route 840 (Water Plant Road) will be widened from 42 feet to 54 feet to accommodate the extended lane. A small drainage structures may need to be extended.
During construction temporary closures will occur on Route 840 to place beams for the I-81 bridge over Route 840. In 2014 Route 840 had an average daily traffic count of 525 vehicles per day. In 2020 when the project is scheduled for construction advertisement the daily average traffic count is estimated to be 557 vehicles per day. By the design year of 2042 the estimated average daily traffic volume is 672 vehicles per day.
All interstate work will be performed in the median and the project will not have any right-of-way impacts.
The purpose of this project is to improve mainline operations and improve safety at the high-speed merge of traffic onto southbound I-81 from I-66 westbound.
Project plan approval Fall 2020
Construction advertisement Fall 2020
Route 624 (Happy Creek Road)
The Route 624 (Happy Creek Road) project provides safety improvements from the Town of Front Royal Eastern Corporate limits to Route 645 (Manassas Run Road). Route 624 is a two-lane road with 10-foot wide travel lanes. Work includes widening the lanes to 11 feet, reducing fixed object hazards, increasing intersection capacity and improving drainage.
On a portion of Route 624 is a wooded area with a curve, which currently limits drivers’ sight views. This area will be cleared and the curve reduced to improve visibility.
In the middle of the project is an at-grade crossing for the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Trains at this crossing serve the Virginia Inland port which is located north of Front Royal. Route 624 has a curve at the crossing, which will be reduced with a slight roadway realignment. Reflective signs and chevrons will be posted to help drivers see the road particularly during night and low light conditions.
Turn lanes will be constructed on Route 624 at Route 647 (Dismal Hollow Road) and Route 645 (Manassas Run Road).
In 2016 Route 624 had an average daily traffic count of 4100 vehicles per day. By the design year of 2043 the estimated average daily traffic volume is 5800 vehicles per day. The total estimated cost for this project is $10.5 million, including $1.3 million for preliminary engineering, $569,234 for right of way and $8.6 million for construction.
This project will improve safety on Route 624 by reducing fixed object hazards, increasing intersection capacity and improving drainage.
I-66 Outside the Beltway Project: Lane closures and traffic changes Week of June 16, 2019
As weather conditions allow, crews will continue corridor-wide roadway maintenance and address issues as needed, with daily single- and multi-lane closures during daytime and overnight hours on I-66 East and West. Additional activities to include:
• Constructing bridge foundations at I-495, Route 28, and Route 234 Business interchanges, and the Bull Run Drive overpass
• Constructing retaining walls along I-66 and Route 28
• Demolishing of structures
• Clearing trees and brush, grading, and installing drainage throughout the corridor
• Demolishing closed ramps at Route 123 interchange
• Grading and installing drainage at the future park and ride lots at University Boulevard (Gainesville) and Balls Ford Road (Manassas)
• Grading and excavating for the new E.C. Lawrence Park Access Road and temporary realignment of Braddock Road
• Relocating underground and overhead utilities along I-66 and Route 28
Upcoming Lane Closures and Traffic Changes
The following planned lane closures are expected to have significant traffic impacts. All work is subject to change based on weather and schedule. Find the latest information on travel conditions and work zones by visiting 511virginia.org or downloading the Virginia511 app.
ROUTE 29 / GAINESVILLE
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.
ROUTE 234 BUSINESS (SUDLEY ROAD) / MANASSAS
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.
ROUTE 28 (SULLY ROAD) / CENTREVILLE
Route 28 North at ramp to I-66 East
Route 28 South at Braddock Road
Ramps from I-66 East and West to Route 28 North
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 28 South
Monday, June 17 through Friday, June 21: 11 a.m. to noon
Temporary stoppages of up to 15 minutes on Route 28 North and South at I-66 for small charge blasting. Additionally, the ramps from I-66 East and West to northbound Route 28, and from I-66 West to southbound Route 28 will be temporarily closed for up to 15 minutes during the same time period.
ROUTE 286 (FAIRFAX COUNTY PARKWAY)
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.
ROUTE 50 / FAIRFAX
Ramp from Route 50 West to I-66 West
Tuesday, June 18: Midnight to 4 a.m.
The ramp will be closed Tuesday night between midnight and 4 a.m. Traffic will be detoured farther west to Route 608 (West Ox Road) South, stay to the right for Route 50 East, then follow signs to I-66 West.
Ramp from I-66 West to Route 50 East
Tuesday, June 18: Midnight to 4 a.m.
The ramp will be closed Tuesday night between midnight and 4 a.m. Traffic will be detoured farther west to Route 286 (Fairfax County Parkway) South, stay to the right for I-66 East, then follow signs to Route 50 East.
ROUTE 123 (CHAIN BRIDGE ROAD) / OAKTON – CITY OF FAIRFAX
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.
ROUTE 243 (NUTLEY STREET) / VIENNA
No significant traffic impacts scheduled.
I-495 (CAPITAL BELTWAY)
I-495 North between Route 50 and I-66
Wednesday, June 19: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Two left lanes will be closed so that a crane can be relocated. Drivers should expect occasional 20-minute stoppages and slowdowns on northbound I-495.
VDOT and the project team have invested in a broad range of programs to help commuters and others stay mobile and safe during construction. Learn more about carpool, vanpool, telework, and commuter bus alternatives.
Tough loss for the Cardinals
In a game that was a battle to the very last pitch, the Cardinals fell short and lost to the Purcellville Cannons 7-8. Both pitchers started strong, and the first inning flew by with no score. Cardinal’s second baseman, Carson Bell, started the next inning with a bang, mashing a homerun to put the Cardinals on the scoreboard. The Cannons answered with two runs of their own in the home half of the inning, and the battle ensued.
The next action came in the fourth inning, when the Cardinals took advantage of a hit by first baseman, Levi Leisenring, and a couple of Cannons’ errors, to score Bell for the second time, and tie the game at 2-2. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Cannons’ Jose Aquino’s three run home run put the Cannons back in the lead. The Cardinals didn’t give up, and their next opportunity to score came in the eighth inning. Facing fresh pitchers on both teams, left fielder Jose Hernandez’s single scored Bell for the third time in this game. Not to be outdone, the Cannons also scored one in the inning, maintaining their three-run lead.
In one final push during the top of the ninth inning, the Cardinals made a steady advance, scoring four runs on four hits, finally taking a one run lead into the last three outs of the game. In the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded for the Cannons, Clayton Baine stroked a double to center field, winning the battle for the Cannons.
Three Cardinals batters had multiple hits on the night: Amir Wright, Trey Fields, and Levi Leisenring each had two hits. Carson Bell scored four runs during the game. Starting pitcher Kyle Choate gave the Cardinals 4.1 strong innings, striking out five batters and giving up five runs. Pitcher Peter Schuldt took the loss for the Cardinals.
Coach Hurla commented on the loss, “The guys battled back tonight and really showed some heart. It stings to not be able to pull off this comeback. A couple of injuries to the pitching staff has thinned us out, but we will keep working through it.”
The Cardinals’ next game is at home, Saturday June 15th at 7:00 pm, against the Woodstock River Bandits. Stoneburner Carter Insurance sponsors the game, and free tickets are available at their office or the Front Royal Visitor Center.
Democrats fielding Amselle for Warren County sheriff run
Front Royal, VA — Front Royal resident Jorge Amselle announced this week that he is running for Sheriff of Warren County on the Democratic ticket, after the Warren County Democratic Committee named him as their nominee for Warren County Sheriff at their May 31 caucus.
Amselle has over 25 years’ experience in economics, law, public policy, and communications, as well as a decade of working with law enforcement as a security professional and a journalist.
Amselle has a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, as well as a Juris Master’s in law and public policy from the George Mason School of Law. He also served in the U.S. Army National Guard as an infantryman, though he stated in an October 24, 2018, letter to Royal Examiner supporting Sixth District candidate Jennifer Lewis that he had “never experienced combat” but was familiar with the sacrifices that veteran make for our country.
While Amselle has no experience in law enforcement, he said he sees the job of the top cop of Warren County as an administrative function, stating, “I will bring the perspective of the citizen to this job to ensure accountability and oversight.”
“If elected I will work to promote real criminal justice reform that improves public safety and protects the taxpayer. I will work to bring drug court for first time offenders to Warren County; to decriminalize marijuana; to address the problem of pre-trial detention for misdemeanors; to eliminate cash bail; to oppose mandatory minimum sentences; to restore voting rights for returning citizens; to use diversion instead of incarceration for individuals with mental illness; to support expungement of minor infractions; to reform civil asset forfeiture; and to work with schools and community groups to promote early intervention programs to keep young people out of trouble.”
“We need to stop treating drug addiction as a criminal justice issue and start treating it as a public health issue. Our community needs more taxpayers not more inmates,” he added.
Front Royal Cardinals bid for three in a row falls short
In last night’s game against the Strasburg Express, the Cardinals offense looked like they wanted to start this game just where they left off last night. Leadoff batter Patrick Baggett scorched a triple in the bottom of the first inning, which set him up to score when Carson Bell singled just three batters later. The Cardinals seemed fired up and looking to win three games in a row.
The Express pushed one run across in the top of the second inning, tying the game, but the Cardinals answered with one of their own in the bottom of the inning, maintaining their one run lead.
The Cardinals plated another runner in the third inning, widening their lead to 3-1. The Express fought back and took a momentary 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth.
The bottom of the fifth proved to be a turning point for the Cardinals. With two outs, Carson Bell singled, then stole second base. The hit ignited Cardinals offense, and the next six batters reached base. When the inning was over, the Cardinals had scored five runs, and took a decisive 8-4 lead. One more Cardinals’ run in the sixth inning made the score 9-4.
The Express offense came alive in the seventh inning against Cardinals’ reliver, Henri Pratt. After starting the inning with two quick outs, Pratt gave up three hits and issued two walks, which allowed the Express to score. Despite a pitching change to Sean Miller, the Express were on a roll that would give them a huge inning of their own. In the top of the eighth inning, Express first baseman, Sonny Dicharia, found the bases loaded as he stepped up to bat. On a 1-1 count, Dicharia launched a ball that eventually hit the scoreboard in left center field – a grand slam home run.
The impressive feat gave the Express a 11-9 lead.
The Cardinals just couldn’t get things going for the remainder of the game, and the Express took the win 11-9. Despite the loss, the Cardinals managed 14 hits on the night, and eight of their nine players hit at least once in the game. Batters were led by second baseman Patrick Baggett, who went 3-5 with 2 RBIs and right fielder Carson Bell, 3-5 with 1 RBI. Following closely behind them were Easton Waterman, 2-5 with 2 RBIs and Joel Alvarez, who went 2-4. Cardinals pitching staff combined to surrender 13 hits, while striking out eight, and walking seven batters. Sean Miller took the loss for the Cardinals
Coach Hurla described the game as a tough loss but remains positive about the team’s potential. “It’s a tough one to swallow, getting beat after having the lead late, but at the plate we really had some good at bats, especially with two outs tonight. Tomorrow is another big game and we will be ready to go.”
The Cardinals face the Purcellville Cannons at 7:00 pm tonight at Fireman’s Field in Purcellville. Their next home game will be Saturday, when they host the Woodstock River Bandits. Game time is 7:00 pm. Stoneburner Carter insurance is sponsoring Saturday’s game.
WCFR Ground Breaking Ceremony on the Rivermont Fire Station
On Thursday, June 13th, the County of Warren, VA, Department of Fire and Rescue Services and the Rivermont Volunteer Fire and Rescue held the Ground Breaking Ceremony on the new Rivermont Community Replacement Fire and Rescue Station.
Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie was joined by County Adminstrator Douglas Stanley, Supervisor Daniel Murry, Supervisor Archie Fox and Rivermont Volunteer President Ashley Woodall in providing remarks to members of the community, current and former volunteer members of our Fire and Rescue System, County staff and Town of Front Royal, Virginia leadership.
Fire Chief Mabie stated “today is an exciting day for our Fire and Rescue Family. This has been a long 10 year project for many of us here today and it is great to see dirt finally moving to make way for this new station.” Fire and Rescue Administration was then joined by members of the Rivermont Station, County Leadership and members of the Board of Supervisors for the ground breaking event.
This 15,250 square foot facility will offer 3 drive through bays, overnight accommodations and additional support space to support the countywide fire and EMS response system and volunteer station needs for a projected 50 year life span. This facility will also offer a community meeting space which will also serve as the Fork District polling/voting location and fundraising space for the volunteer organization.
This joint capital improvement project has been developed to meet the critical needs of the Rivermont Community and to address the safety concerns of the deteriorating conditions of the existing station. The needs of the Fire and Rescue operations have vastly outgrown the existing station which is not adequate to support career staffing or overnight volunteer staffing activities.