Thanks to Goode, Martinsville owes some $145,000.

It was only a few years ago that Rep. Goode was bragging that it was due to his hard work and clever financial footwork that MZM had opened a branch in Martinsville. Goode personally brokered a deal for the state to give a $500,000 gift to MZM to convince them to locate in Southside, with the bizarre contingency that if MZM didn’t perform as promised, Martinsville would have to pay back the half mil.

Well, as the MZM bribery scandal widened (and I understand that more indictments are coming shortly), it became pretty obvious that Martinsville had gotten shafted by their congressman. MZM finally closed down in July, just five days after losing their federal contract.

Today comes word, from the Roanoke Times‘ Laurence Hammack (who has followed this story closely all along) that The Virginia Economic Development Partnership has decided that Martinsville quite clearly owes back a percentage of that $500k, a sum that is likely to end up around $145k. The troubled city’s mayor says that’s a tough pill to swallow for a town that doesn’t have a lot of cash laying around. The Times reminds readers that this highly unusual arrangement — putting Martinsville on the hook rather than MZM — was personally set up by Rep. Goode.

Goode famously accepted $88,000 in contributions from MZM shortly before the Martinsville deal went down, the discovery of which earned him international news coverage and national criticism. He finally gave up the $88k, accepting responsibility for accepting the tainted money.

I will be very interested to see whether the congressman does what he ought to do here — personally cover Martinsville’s tab. He arranged the deal, he provided his assurance that this would be a good investment for the city, and in returning the tainted contributions, he’s established his personal financial culpability in the impropriety of this relationship.

As a Virginian, I want to see him pay up as soon as the bill comes in — his campaign has $308,583 cash on hand, so it shouldn’t be a problem. But a Democrat, I hope he doesn’t, because that would provide a marvelous talking point for his opponent in next year’s election, and then we could end up with somebody representing the district who can make responsible decisions on behalf of Martinsville. And that will leave Martinsville — and all of the district — far better off.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

44 replies on “Thanks to Goode, Martinsville owes some $145,000.”

  1. I am speechless, even though I knew this day might be coming. Speechless mostly because Virgil was reelected with people knowing this day was coming.

    He can’t be voted out of office soon enough. I plan on writing a letter asking the Congressman to do just what you have suggested, to pay up the b ill for his failed hands-on project that went nowhere.

    Not that I will get an honest or satisfying answer.

  2. This is certainly a sad tale that needs to be told and I believe that there is more to come. It is bad and this post is not anything more than some minor clafications.
    Assistant City Attorney Wade Bartlett said his calculations put the figure at no more than $145,000. One silver lining is an upgraded building that the city can market to new economic prospects

    I have seen the building and it is very nice modern building.

  3. Virgil should use federal campaign dollars to pay a debt accrued as a result of his “personal financial culpability”? Interesting plan.

  4. In suggesting that he use campaign dollars, I am perhaps being overly generous (and perhaps revealing my ignorance of federal campaign finance law), but I find it better to err on the side of generosity when I’m in doubt.

  5. I admit I’m unfamiliar with much of this story, but do you really think that simply by returning the campaign contributions he “established his personal financial culpability in the impropriety of this relationship.” That seems a little presumptuous.

  6. He personally chose to surrender his campaign funds as a result of his inappropriate relationship with MZM. He hasn’t surrendered money that he’s received from companies that he’s not accused of having an inappropriate relationship with. And nobody else in the Virginia congressional delegation has surrendered contributions from MZM.

    I’m not sure that there’s any way around it.

  7. I am familiar with the illegal contributions that Goode received. He was/is hanging by a thread for receiving those contributions and the reasonable assumption that they were in payment for his lobbying and committee votes. It ain’t over yet. In the drama of the Corrupt 109th Congress – Goode played a supporting role.

    Goode’s constituents are faced with a question; is he stupid, is he a crook, or is he a little of both.

  8. Did you reimburse the City of Charlottesville for costs incurred for your ‘famous’ curfew suit that went to the VA Supreme Court, but was ultimately thrown out?

    Well, let’s see if I can connect the dots here. If I had brokered a deal between the ACLU and the City of Charlottesville promising that the ACLU would pay back the city city if the ACLU lost the case, and then the ACLU lost because of a scandal that I was implicated in then, yes, I suspect I’d need to pay them back. Just like Rep. Goode should probably do for Martinsville.

    But your question is both factually incorrect and a laughably inaccurate comparison. I have a difficult time believing that you actually know so little about the legal process or Martinsville’s relationship with MZM. What in the world was the point of that little exercise? And why is the word “famous” in quotes? Who are you quoting? It’s famous?

  9. I believe Waldo that you did what you thought was right at the time pursuing the curfew issue. It failed, and did it not cost the City of Charlottesville to defend against it?

    Virgil Goode did what he thought was right and beneficial to his constituents, it failed…

    I see the logic to that, and I do not see where either you or Goode should be held financially liable.

    I do not believe either of you really set out to harm the community did you?

    The ‘famous’ is that it is repeatedly quoted by news articles, and amazingly even in Wikipedia…

  10. Virgil Goode, like the rest of the former “credit card” Republican majority, has spent us all into record debt. Martinsville is not alone. All of us will be paying for the Republican spending spree for a long time.

    While Martinsville’s problem is a Virgil Goode inspired debacle, voters have little patience for the politics of blame…no matter how well deserved. Voters do respond well to those that offer them a ladder to get out of the ditch created by the nincompoops.

    Now if Democrats want to be really smart about this thing, they should concentrate on the positive. For example, there are plenty of corporate dollars out there that are not available for campaign or PAC funding. This includes things like, restaurant (corporate) promotional funding. Democrats promoting a sponsored dinner to raise money for Martinsville would be good community relations for the corporations involved and for the party…or associated group. There are many other examples of fund raising possibilities. People want answers more than anything else.

    Everyone would know who the idiot was and you would never have to mention his name. Martinsville’s problem is an opportunity waiting to happen for folks focused on answers.

  11. This, like the refusal to record cmte votes in the GA, is too hard (for me) to defend. I often get a rush when I hear news like Biden stepping in it, or Harry Reid having questionable real estate deals (yeah, I’m a dork, too) b/c I think finally I’ll be able to lord it over most of the folks that post here.

    Of course, it’s long before I, like Officer Opie before me, realize that Waldo’s not gonna look at the 27 8X10 color, glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. After all, it’s his blog. But it’s depressing.

    Nevertheless, I like most of you people and wouldn’t be here so much if I didn’t realize you were smarter than me.

    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is – Have a good weekend.

    P.S. I cannot refrain from noting that when a motorist is involved in a traffic accident and charged with having bald tires, the fact that said motorist immediately acquires new tires after the wreck may not be used in court to show his old ones were faulty. It’s just good public policy that he gets new ones. I hope that makes sense.

  12. Has anyone tried to dig for any inappropriate actions of the
    “credit card” Republicans that were involved in the development of the Ground Intelligence facility in Albemarle County? Wasn’t Virgil involved in that?
    So the area that shows the least support for Goode has actually gained the most from him! Go figure!

  13. The Ground Intelligence Center moved from downtown to the County for security and space reasons. They were already here, and welcome to stay.

  14. Sorry- I was under the impression that Goode was very instrumental in getting 7 mil. that is enabling the expansion of said facility. With a simple search you can find numerous references to this.

  15. I am sorry, as this is off topic, but I traced a trail of your SunCom woes. Where did your SunCom page go? I have a huge griviance against them and I want justice.

  16. I am sorry, as this is off topic, but I traced a trail of your SunCom woes. Where did your SunCom page go?

    I lost it to file corruption on my server many years ago and, stupidly, was without a backup. But I just dug around for a few minutes and discovered that, lo and behold, I do have a backup. So here it is, a seven-year-old webpage complaining about SunCom.

  17. Just to be nitpicky — it was Officer Obie in Alice’s Restaurant with the 27 eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with the circles and arrows on the back of each one. Opie was Ron Howard’s character on the old Andy Griffith show.

  18. “Sorry- I was under the impression that Goode was very instrumental in getting 7 mil. that is enabling the expansion of said facility. With a simple search you can find numerous references to this.”

    Who said it needed expansion? From those whom I know who work there, it seems as though there’s not enough work for it to do and the relocation has just made it less a likely target for attack. Although, frankly, given the stellar job it did on those damned aluminum tubes in 2002, I think the last thing a smart enemy of the United States would want is to shut it down. For all the noticeable impact the move has made on our local economy, it coulda stayed put. If the move was another earmark bonanza from the Federal trough, well, that would be par for the contemptible course of the GOP and just our payoff for Alaska getting The Bridge to Nowhere, I guess.

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  20. I am seeing a clear pattern here. Alton has laid out a position clearly based on fact. Waldo has made a host of unsubstantiated and conclusory statements.

    Advantage goes to I’m Not Emeril. Hands down.

  21. I’ll make a deal here. Anyone that can refute a single fact that I’ve posted will receive a dedicated post on my site that acknowledges that failure on my part. I’ll also make a correction in my original post.

  22. An addendum,
    I don’t read Waldo daily. If you can refute my statement(s), please e-mail me as well as post that refutation here and or on your blog. I wouldn’t want to miss your refutation simply because I don’t come here every day.

  23. Alton, you have not rebutted anything that I have said, as I cannot rebut anything that you have said. That’s because we’re both citing presumably accurate public records reported in the media that do not contradict one another.

    Instead, you’ve spent a perfectly good Superbowl Sunday rebutting things that I never said, or even implied, but that you inferred. Your series of points — who wrote the performance agreement, Council had to agree, Martinsville made money on it — are entirely unobjectionable and not actually germane given our actual point of disagreement. Were I to respond in kind — as I have often done in life — we’d be doing what’s known as “talking past each other.”

    The only area where we presumably disagree is on the degree to which Rep. Goode is culpable.

    In an effort to prevent talking past you again, I’ll provide a parable.

    I’m Waldo, mayor of Nonesuchtown. I was recently reelected thanks in no small part of my friend Phil. He was my #1 campaign contributor. Phil’s from up in D.C., but he’s thinking about moving down here. He owns a couple of chain businesses, and we could certainly use some of his money down here in Nonesuchtown. So I go to Ginger, a friend and a resident of my town. I explain to Ginger, who owns some rental houses, that it’s important to the town that Phil move down here. My hope is that he’ll decide to locate some of his businesses here, which would be good for the tax base. The trouble is, I tell Ginger, he needs some persuading to move down here. If I could tell him that I’ve found a house for him with low rent and no deposit, I think he’ll do it. Ginger’s not sure, but I vouch for Phil, and she has her attorney draw up the paperwork.

    Phil accepts the offer. He moves down here and rents from Ginger for a year and a half. But before any of his stores can open, he gets busted by the police. Turns out he was using the house to run a meth lab. Phil goes to prison. The house is a wreck, because that’s what running a meth lab does. It requires thousands of dollars in improvements. With no deposit, poor Ginger is stuck with the bill. She made enough in rent that she breaks even on the entire deal. But she hadn’t budgeted thousands of dollars for repair bills — that money was earmarked for her daughter’s college fund.

    Who’s fault is it? Well, there’s enough blame to go around. First and foremost, it’s Phil’s fault, no question. Ginger certainly messed up taking a renter without a deposit which means that, by extent, she erred in trusting me — after all, I didn’t actually call up that Phil was a big-time investor in my campaign. Finally, I messed up — I vouched for Phil which meant that I was asking Ginger to trust me, not Phil, which of course she’d do as her friend and mayor.

    I have absolutely no legal obligation to help out Ginger with her bills. She’s a big girl, and she made the deal with her eyes wide open. And I didn’t draw up her contract, although I did come up with the terms. But I do have a reelection campaign coming up in a couple of years, and I’ve got my reputation to look after. What with all of the money I made from Phil, it be so terrible to cover Ginger’s costs. (After all, it’s not really my money, anyhow — it’s my campaign’s money.)

    Whether I pay back Ginger is ultimately a gamble — will the voters of Nonesuchtown care about the fact that I wrongly vouched for a criminal? Will they care to the tune of the cost of the repair bill?

  24. Waldo,
    Are you selectively deleting comments now? I’m referring to our Democrat Chair in Cumberland County. You remember, Mark Brooks. He’s the one who called me a “dick” yesterday.

    I suppose your infamous spam trio deleted Mr. Brooks’ comments wherein he called me a “dick”? You really didn’t think you could get away with simply deleting them, did you? Carl saw them. I responded to one. Chris saw them. Many others saw them.

    You have lost all credibility Waldo. This action merely proves it.

    If I were you I would certainly invest in better spam software. If your lame explanation is to be believed, your’s allows post to appear for quite some time before it decides it’s spam and must be removed.

  25. Hey Waldo, are you going to answer Alton’s questions? These charges by Alto that you are deleting trackbacks that are not maliciously personal or crude is very disconcerting, and may call into question the integrity of the entire Virginia blogosphere.

  26. “

    Mr. Foley et al, you might want to try looking at the correct post before ranting about people deleting comments.”

    …and an apology might be in order Mr. Foley. Are you going senile? You can’t keep posts straight? I thought you were all about facts. This little incident SEVERELY puts into question your ability to get facts right. Your credibility in the “blogosphere” with your pithy comments has gone down the tubes.

    And CR UVa, did you just say that the entire VA blogosphere has been called into question because of this thread when it’s apparent that nothing happened? You two are nothing more than pompous asses that need a reality check that this little “blog world” you live in, while emerging, is not an all encompassing lifestyle.

  27. Alton, I’d pretend to be offended, but I’m not.

    This is a part of a pattern than you and I have gone through for nearly a year now. You accuse me of something terrible, using strong words and harsh criticism. I point out to you that your accusation is false. You refuse to believe me. I provide undeniable evidence. You apologize. We’ve done this over and over and over again.

    When you accuse me of something, I see it as an inevitable prelude to an apology. You don’t need to apologize here. Not only because you are clearly in the wrong and I am clearly in the right, but because because you have conditioned me to associate you accusing me of something with an apology; the accusation is the apology. And, thus, I accept your apology.

  28. Kevin, Waldo is undoubtedly a representative of Virginia blogging, and one of the more well-known ones at that. If there is some truth behind this accusation of comment deletion, it looks bad on all of us, Republican, Democrat, or of other political persuasion. If you do not like that, that is your problem.

    Now Kevin, I’ll ask you to reread my comment. I said they may call into question Virginia’s blogosphere. This is based solely on whether Alton was telling the truth or not. I simply wanted an answer to a question. You can read more into that if you want to, but I think you need to watch who you are calling a pompus ass. Sometimes the ones who fit that bill the best are those who accuse others of being so.

  29. The fact does remain though, that my original trackback was deleted.


    Alton, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Your blog sent a trackback to my site. It got caught in my spam filter, as at least 3-4 comments do every week, and innumerable trackbacks and pingbacks do. Before I got my once-daily e-mailed report of blogspam, you tracked back again. As I said on your blog, I would have discovered your trackback soon enough and made it public. Any blogger who accepts comments has dealt with this problem.

    I cannot understand favoring luny conspiracy theories over the simple, obvious realities of the world. As with your theory that I’d erased a half dozen comments yesterday, your theory that I deleted your trackback is equally wrong.

    Making this all particularly crazy, your trackback is there. Nothing is missing. Nobody has been harmed. There is no wrong to be righted. The angry right of the Virginia blogosphere gets angrier and angrier every day. It’s got to be terrible for your blood pressure.

  30. “You are correct Mr Krehbiel, rather late (for me, at least) last night I did, in fact look in the wrong post.

    The fact does remain though, that my original trackback was deleted.”

    Nice half-hearted apology. “Oh it was late…my bad.” Maybe you should change your name to “I’m Not Careful”.

    CR UVa- Seriously, I don’t care. About 90% of Virginia blog readers don’t care. I count you, Alton, Ward, Kilo, and the SWACers. Frame your sentences anyway you choose, your implications were clear. And you’re still a pompous ass for bring the whole “look in the mirror when you call someone names” point up. What is this middle school? “Takes one to know one?” You know CR UVa, you’re right. I am a pompous ass. It’s taken someone’s comment from a blog to tell me that…thank you (Tears run down my cheek).

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