Potential defendant in county probe retains counsel

Sources have revealed to this newspaper that counsel has been retained by a potential defendant in the Virginia State Police investigation opened more than two years ago into Rappahannock County government procurement practices.

Otherwise, Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Walther, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case, answered “no comment” on Tuesday when asked whether charges could soon be filed in the case.

The investigation was touched off by a letter from Rappahannock County Treasurer Debbie Knick to the county’s Board of Supervisors in February 2017. In the letter, Knick accused her own county government of mismanagement, including failure to follow proper expense and payroll procedures and lack of oversight of budgeting and spending.

Knick had cited cases of “overpayment” of county funds and sloppy oversight with county-issued government credit cards. The investigation, which began in March 2017, surrounded in part spending and procurement activities.

VSP Special Agent W.W. Talbert delivered his report to Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff in September 2017, but declined to provide details about the investigation. Goff in November 2017 recused himself from the probe.

An order signed by Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey W. Parker stated that Goff “is so situated with respect to the accused in this matter that it would be improper for him to act as Attorney for the Commonwealth in this case, and requested that a special prosecutor be appointed.”

Walther had earlier told this newspaper that one question led to another in the probe, and following up on the state police findings was taking time.

About John McCaslin 449 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.

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