Not drinking the Kool-Aid

On January 19 I filed a lawsuit against Rappahannock County Commissioner of Revenue Sharon Dodson. The purpose is twofold: first, as an appeal for a series of erroneous assessments made upon my land for which there is no other forum for appeal; and secondly, as a petition for a Writ of Mandamus to order the commissioner to abide by statutes of the commonwealth in the commission of her duties.

Had the commissioner and her predecessor followed the laws of this commonwealth and the ordinances adopted by this county, this suit would most likely not have been necessary. Ms. Dodson is an elected official and a state employee and she is not entitled to be represented by the county attorney or commonwealth attorney and use taxpayer dollars, for her legal representation. I am suing Ms. Dodson, not the County of Rappahannock.

In the April 6 issue of the Rappahannock News, the commonwealth and county attorney, Art Goff, publicly accused me of filing a “crazy suit” and stated that she “wants what she wants,” calling into question my mental health. Mr. Goff also provided legal counsel to me in a criminal matter and which would cause most ethical attorneys to recuse themselves in the current legal complaint. Mr. Goff is dismissing my attempt to seek redress in a court of law and to order the commissioner to follow the law. As a result, Mr. Goff has violated the Virginia State Bar Professional Guidelines, specifically Rule 1.7.

Mr. Goff confirmed my opinion concerning Ms. Dodson’s legal representation. He told me by phone (in January 2017) that he could not represent Ms. Dodson, due to a conflict of interest and she would need to obtain her own counsel. Mr. Goff wears two often competing hats — commonwealth attorney and county attorney. That is also a conflict of interest, as he is paid both by the county and by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mr. Goff’s personal and unprofessional attack on a taxpayer for whom he works is another example of cronyism, mismanagement and corruption in the county. I’m not the only resident who has been attacked by an elected official.

Mr. Goff, you may say that I am “crazy,” but not so “crazy” that I will drink the “Kool-Aid,” nor should anyone else in this county. What is costing the taxpayers large dollars is government officials who have not followed best practices for governance and violation of due process regarding state land use taxation laws.

What I want Mr. Goff is a healthy community, land values that are increasing and taxation that remains relatively low compared to neighboring counties. Let’s drop the “them against us” mentality … you are not the victim of the taxpayers.

Lynn Sullivan
Washington

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