When does a company’s “goodwill” create a conflict of interest?

Someone sent me a copy of a flier for the Caroline County Optimist Club’s Winter Sports Festival. For those unaware, the Director of the Optimist Club is County Administrator Percy Ashcraft and the club’s President is Percy Ashcraft’s wife. Its Recording Secretary is Karen Jenkins, who is the county’s “public information officer” as well.

Now, if you look at the sponsors of this event, you might recognize some of the names:

  • Amerigas
  • Jarrell Properties, Inc.
  • Utility Services, Inc.
  • Diversified Ambulance Billing
  • Clark’s Cut II
  • World View Solutions
  • E.M. Gray & Son, Inc.
  • Dominion Resources, Inc.
  • Massey Enterprises
  • Purvis Ford
  • Rosner Toyota
  • Virginia Sports Complex
  • Computer-Telephone Technologies
  • Linda Perry Taxes

Jarrell Properties, Inc., whose commercial rezoning application was approved by the Board of Supervisors on January 26th of this year.

Diversified Ambulance Billing? Those are the folks responsible for billing county citizens for the EMS fee program. It also turns out that they’ve fleeced county residents out of $39,000 over the last two years.

In addition, while I can’t find any connection between “Massey Enterprises” and the county, their offices are one suite over from where Diversified Ambulance Billing is located in Virginia Beach.

Clark’s Cut II is the controversial sand/gravel extraction site off of Route 17 whose approval by the Board of Supervisors has prompted legal action against the company as well as the Board (full disclosure: I supported that special exemption permit application and still do).

World View Solutions? They’re a geographic information system (GIS) provider…who just happens to be doing the county’s GIS project.

Virginia Sports Complex, who in 2009 was granted a special exemption permit to serve alcohol at their facility.

So, when does the “goodwill” from these companies become a conflict of interest (or create the appearance of a conflict of interest), especially when the group receiving the money is ran by the County Administrator and his wife?

And as a side note, is the County Administrator’s Office so pressed for work they are selling tickets to an event for a third-party, non-governmental organization? I smell some room for budget cuts there, maybe we can rededicate that money to something important, like education.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Hey, apparently County Administrator Percy Ashcraft thinks $1,250,000 is chump change as well.

You get the government you deserve folks. From today’s edition of The Free Lance–Star:

Caroline County Administrator Percy Ashcraft told fair officials that he welcomes all to the fair, but he really wants Caroline County residents to benefit from it.

“We are the host county and we want to feel like the host county,” Ashcraft said at the meeting. “With the [National Scout] Jamboree, we were the host county and we didn’t feel like it.”

And going way back to the October 15, 2001 edition of The Free Lance–Star:

Caroline County made more than $1.25 million in food and hotel-room sales during last summer’s National Scout Jamboree, a new report shows.

The total regional economic impact of the jamboree was expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars, officials from Fort A.P. Hill, which hosts the event, said earlier this summer.


Caroline’s gross food sales this July were nearly $1.16 million more than for the same month last year, when no jamboree was held, according to the report.

County hotels earned about $128,000 more than last year.

The report also said that gasoline sales were far above typical for July, and that many local contractors and suppliers of building materials were used to prepare A.P. Hill for the jamboree. Exact figures for these two sectors were not available for the report, [Director of Economic Development Gary] Wilson said.