Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Former PWC Sheriff Stoffregen Indicted

Breaking news on 630 WMAL. A Prince William County grand jury has indicted former Sheriff Lee Stoffregen III. He has been indicted on two felony counts -- grand theft and embezzlement. More details to follow

16 Comments:

At 8/02/2005 04:42:00 PM, Blogger MR JMS said...

.... wow ....


Does that mean I can't use him to buy my new home?

 
At 8/02/2005 06:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. This validates Connaughton's stand against this guy, a stand that was politically risky at the time, but which has served the citizens well. There were excellent administrative and fiscal reasons to resist Stoffregen's ambitions in the County, but even at the time, the whole thing had a bad aroma.

 
At 8/02/2005 09:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Immediate Release: August 2, 2005

VIRGINIA STATE POLICE ARREST FORMER PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY SHERIFF E. LEE STOFFREGEN


FAIRFAX – A Prince William County grand jury indicted former Prince William County Sheriff E. Lee Stoffregen with one count of grand larceny and one count of embezzlement on Monday, August 1. Stoffregen turned himself into Virginia State Police investigators on August 2.

The Fairfax Office of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation began its investigation in January 2004 following a complaint filed by Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert into allegations of improper conduct by Stoffregen. The criminal investigation involved the purchase of rifles by the sheriff’s office and a bank account established by the sheriff’s office.

A special prosecutor has been appointed in this investigation. The trial date is scheduled for December 19, 2005.

 
At 8/02/2005 11:36:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

I agree, wow!

Anon 6:38's comment, though, is unadulterated BS, little more than an attempt to rewrite history. Spare us your lame attempts to promote "Heroic Sean" . . . . Sean.

Whatever the dispute between Connaughton and Stoffregen, it was never about corruption or even the hint of corruption; it was about the administrative and fiscal reasons alone, along with the conflict of overweening ambitions: both Lee's and Sean's. At least on the face of it, it was a dispute about the proper role of the Sheriff's office, one in which Stoffregen had a defensible position, even if inartfully expressed and ultimately rejected at the ballot box.

 
At 8/03/2005 12:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this stops the regular appearance of "Stoffregen was great, Hill is bad" letters to the editor, it will make me very pleased.

 
At 8/03/2005 07:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember that Connaughton pushed for audits of the Sheriff's Department. Connaughton kept on asking where all the money was going. Stoffregen obviously was keeping more than one set of books.

 
At 8/03/2005 09:15:00 AM, Anonymous c.j. benner said...

Jim Young attacks the Anon 1838 post yesterday as "unaldulterated BS" and then acknowledges precisely what it said - that Connaughton's defiance of Stoffregen was based on fiscal and administrative concerns. Very strange. What part of that was BS, Jim? The facts are these: Connaughton pressed a popular entrenched Democrat, one of only 3 county-wide elected officials, a guy who had a huge war-chest and who publicly threatened to use it against Connaughton, to justify the continuing expansion of a veritable Sheriff's Empire in Prince William. Stoffregen had been elected and re-elected with strong bi-partisan support around the County and arguably was (pre 2003) a better-known and more popular figure than Connaughton. At the time Connaughton undertook to stand up to Stoffregen, it was a politically risky move. Connaughton's opposition was based on principles of fiscal responsibility and orderly government, as Young acknowledges, but I don't think those facts diminish either Connaughton's forthrightness or his accomplishment in getting rid of Stoffregen. Anyone who watched this carefully at the time had to suspect that the problems went beyond Stoffregen's megalomania to questionable practices within the Sheriff's department. It seemed (at least to me) fairly likely that Stoffregen had granted deputy status to folks where a tacit quid pro quo was campaign support for the Sheriff and that the fascination Stoffregen had for expensive law enforcement toys, some of which were paid for by contributions from private citizens, was an invitation for bad ethical practices. Stoffregen reacted to Connaughton's impertinence by publicly stating he would unseat Connaughton and any Supervisor who supported him and by supporting challengers against Connaughton in both the GOP primary and in the General election. Conaughton not only crunched both of these guys, but also played a major role in encouraging Glenn Hill to run against Stoffregen. Hill is a quiet, dignified professional. Col. Hill greatly enhances the reputation of the Republican Party in the County and in the State and seems to work well with the County Police Department. Connaughton gets full marks for helping get Hill elected. The County's quality of governance was greatly enhanced by that string of events. It took some guts and persistence for Connaughton to see it through to a positive resolution. I think it would be pretty hard (even for Jim Young)to dispute these basic facts about the situation.

Young's attempted dismissal of the saga as a clash of egos reflects ignorance of sound government/stewardship obligations of elected officials and a chronic psychopathology that Young presents on anything having to do with Sean Connaughton. It is a tiresome and unpleasant affliction. No one, especially Young, benefits from so much repeated public exposure of this crippling monomania. It is a most unsettling thing to behold.

 
At 8/03/2005 11:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your observations. Sean could have taken the "go along - get along" position taken by the rest of the PW Republicans but he didn't. As with most every other thing Jim Young attacks him on, Sean was right on the former Sheriff and Young is wrong. I think that is what eats at Young the most ...

 
At 8/03/2005 12:51:00 PM, Anonymous C.J. Benner said...

Anon 11:11: The personal opinions I earlier expressed about Connaughton and Young (particularly the latter's reaction to the Stoffregen item) are probably colored by my respect for Sean, a respect that Young doesn't fully share. It just seems to me that the way Stoffregen's departure from public life played out was a clear, unambiguous gain for good government, and that it was not a clear-cut political advantage to connaughton to undertake it at the outset. For Jim Young to reduce it to a dual between "overweening egos" is, in my view, of a part with almost every other thing he writes on the subject of Connaughton. It all seems way over the top, even if one thinks way less of Sean than I do. It has to be the objective case that the situation in PW is far better now than it was, regardless of the recent events concerning charges against Stoffregen (which, of course, have yet to be proved). I live in Fairfax, so my exposure to this was from across the border, but it all seemed fairly malodorous even pre-indictment.

 
At 8/03/2005 02:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ Benner has it right on the deputy scandal, too. Just look at the "quality" of some of those individuals who kept their credentials following Stoffregen's loss. Three of them were busted in the 6 months following his exit from office for using the expired credentials. One in particular, John Harper, used his to try to get into a college basketball game in Richmond. What maroons!!!

 
At 8/04/2005 10:32:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

Anon 12:17 -- I agree ... if Stoffregen is convicted of wrongdoing. If not, I'm reminded of that famous comment by Reagan's acquitted Labor Secretary: "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"

Anon 7:13 -- That has yet to be proven. I think it wise to withhold judgment until the trial.

C.J. -- I make a distinction between criminal conduct and "fiscal and administrative reasons." That you don't demonstrates a disturbing penchant to criminalize policy differences... which is the BS part of Anon 18:38's post.

As for the rest of your post, I agree with much of it... until you enter into psychoanalysis of me. The problem is that your comments don't diminish my point about the conflict of overweening ambitions (Lee had them, too), which you Connaughton Kool-Aid drinkers refuse to acknowledge (witness his effort to pack a GOP meeting last year, after his embarrassment at a Convention straw poll). 'Fact is, I've never said anything to diminish the fact that Connaughton played a huge role in Stoffregen's defeat. But you've never said anything to acknowledge that it was about more than legitimate policy reasons, which it obviously was. "Anyone who watched this carefully at the time had to suspect that" Sean's motivation "went beyond Stoffregen's megalomania to questionable practices within the Sheriff's department." Just as Lee's motivation went beyond his defensible positions (i.e., that the County's chief law enforcement official should be elected, rather than the appointed police chief) about beefing up the Sheriff's law enforcement activities, which I wrote about at the time. Few, apparently, remember his promise to do so in the '95 campaign; indeed, had Lee been more anxious to, or more artfully, done so in response to Sean's concerns, he would have done himself a service. Who was it, I wonder, who talked about Lee's effort to become "the Boss Hogg of Prince William County"? Oh, yeah, that was me.

I don't "dismiss[] the saga as a clash of egos" entirely. To the contrary, I do and have acknowledged the good government reasons why Stoffregen was wrong (I'll refer you, too, to an old column, see below, reprinted in my website). Since you are either ignorant of it (in the non-judgmental form of ignorance), or just don't care (which would be judgmental), it would be to your credit to read it and adjust your comments accordingly. Neither do I dismiss the clash of egos so readily apparent out of hand in an effort to elevate Chairman Sean to sainthood. That, too, is a "chronic psychopathology" demonstrated by Chairman Sean's minions which is "a tiresome and unpleasant affliction," a "crippling monomania" which "is a most unsettling thing to behold."

As for Anon 11:11, I'll refer you to a column published on 28 August 2002, in the Potomac News. But your comment posted in cowardly anonymity is one of the first to suggest that I'm a "go along - get along" type, and it's simply wrong on the topic at hand.

 
At 8/04/2005 01:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a casual observor of Mr. Young's rants about Connaughton, I cannot help but get the feeling that Mr. Young has either (1) some sort of deep seated hatred for the man for personal reasons; (2)sees in Connaughton qualities that he himself lacks; or (3) Connaughton ran over his dog. Maybe it is a combination of these but whatever it is, Jim Young ... GET OVER IT!

 
At 8/04/2005 02:28:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Coward 1:33 -- Another effort to dismiss legitimate criticism and analysis with belittlement; seen quite frequently among homophiliacs who find it easier than dealing with their opponents arguments.

But as a casual observor of the various raves of anonymous posters about Connaughton, I cannot help but get the feeling that they have either (1) some sort of deep seated love for the man for personal reasons; (2) see in Connaughton qualities that they themselves lack; or (3) Connaughton gave them a government job. Maybe it is a combination of these but whatever it is, anonymous Connaughtonites ... GET OVER IT!

 
At 8/04/2005 02:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Jim Young has some high-powered law practice, how is it that all his posts are during the work day?

 
At 8/04/2005 04:59:00 PM, Anonymous C.J. Benner said...

Jim: So many words, so little to say. I do a great deal of reading throughout the course of the day, but digging out your old PN columns is an enterprise for which Providence (even under the most optimistic actuarial assumptions) has not granted me an abundance of time. I read some of your pieces when they were fresh and thought several were remarkably undisciplined in tone and content. I reckon that that impression, however subjective, would not recede with the passage of time. My major point is that it seems objectively clear that PW is better off without Stoffregen. I find it bizarre that, even on this uniquely clear-cut point, you choose to cavil in a way intended to cast aspersions on Connaughton. The last word can be yours. I'm outta here.

 
At 8/05/2005 10:21:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

Coward 2:52 -- You mean, like yours. Simple facts are: (1) responding to BS doesn't take that much time; (2) as a professional, I'm on the clock any time I'm thinking about a case; and (3) as my employer is satisfied with my product, it's really none of your business.

c.j. 4:59 --- As for your review of my work as "remarkably undisciplined in tone and content, I would note that, unlike you, at least (for a time) I got PAID for it. As for "digging out [my] old PN columns," you don't have to; its posted at http://skepticalobservor.blogspot.com/. Or just click on my name, and you can read it for yourself. If you refuse to do so, because it would force you to recognize that your disparagements are not only unfounded, but factually wrong.

And I find it interesting that you comment about my "caviling," in light of your conjunction of your disparagements of me with your "major point." But as to my choice "to cavil in a way intended to cast aspersions on Connaughton," you will please note that I was responding to the anonymous post (6:38) suggesting that Stoffregen's indictment "validates Connaughton's stand against this guy." The indictment does no such thing, as their conflict was about at least two other things: (1) administrative and fiscal disputes; and (2) overweening ambitions. Roll the dice and pick 'em as to the primary reason, but I believe that history has validated my belief that the former was merely rationalization covering the latter.

Those who seek to insure that the beatification of Sean continues to occur apace choose to ignore this fact; Anon 6:38 sought to rewrite history in this regard by suggesting that the administrative and fiscal reasons had anything to do with corruption, which they did not, not even a hint. Whatever else you can say about Lee (and there's plenty, a lot of it said by me), this is unfair and a disservice to the truth.

 

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