Martinsville: Stuck with the check and a worthless building.

You might remember the MZM building in Martinsville. That’s the consolation prize that the city was left with after Rep. Virgil Goode convinced the city to cosign on the state’s incentive package for MZM to move in. The company was exposed for giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent donations to Goode, they disappeared, and Martinsville had to pony up the penalty cash to the state. Goode’s supporters thought this was a great deal, because now Martinsville had this great building! Bullshit. “Martinsville: Easy to Leave.” It’s funny because it’s true. Nobody wanted to move into the building, the promised new purchasers never materialized.

Now comes word that, irony of ironies, Henry County wants to move Henry-Martinsville Social Services into the old MZM building. Their need for social services exceeds the interest that any private business has (which is to say none) in buying or renting the building. The structure will require $685,000 in improvements to make it usable. Martinsville got stuck with the bill and they’ve got to pay to overhaul the MZM building.

These kind of shenanigans are why “Rep. Virgil Goode” is about to become just plain-old “Virgil Goode.” He’s holding a press conference as we speak. He’s conceding defeat, I can only assume. The newly-elected Tom Perriello’s press conference is at 3:00pm. He’s accepting that concession, I assume, and describing his transition process.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

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

4 replies on “Martinsville: Stuck with the check and a worthless building.”

  1. Says Goode at the press conference:

    “With the vote counting process almost complete, it has become clear that there have been a number of reporting irregularities – including the misplacement of paper ballots and tape records from electronic machines and miscalculations in vote tallies. In fact, almost 20% of all the voting precincts in the district had reporting errors. While current unofficial tallies have me trailing my opponent, these irregularities have cast doubt on the reported totals. It is essential that we get to the bottom of these problems and insist on a thorough and proper vote counting process. We will continue to fight to make sure that every single legitimate vote in the 5th District is accurately counted and reported.”

    I can’t say that I blame him. I would probably do the exact same thing in his shoes. There should be a rec-count, or a re-canvas I should say. One which I would expect Tom Periello to still come out ahead in, but it should be done anyway so that people can have confidence in the result.

  2. Yeah, I have to say that to concede now would seem pretty dumb. As much as I dislike Goode, with the count as close as it is, it’s only fair to do a full recount to ensure the correct result is reached.

  3. Can anyone explain to this confused bystander just why the vote tabulation was soooo messed up in the first place in this particular district?

    I don’t think the vote tabulation was particularly messed up. These sorts of shufflings happen in every district in every election. (Just check out the SBE’s history of changes for any locality in any race.) It’s just that they’re noticed when the tally is so close.

    Do those numbers include the absentee ballots from those precincts?

    They do not, no, for precisely the reason that you cite. That’s an interesting point about the re-assignation of absentee ballots—I never thought about that.

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