Son­nett case dis­missed against su­per­vi­sors, county at­tor­ney

Rappahannock News - - NEWS • FROM PAGE ONE - — John McCaslin and Patty Hardee

Un­like three other con­flict of in­ter­est law­suits filed on be­half of clients against the Rap­pa­han­nock County gov­ern­ment by pri­vate at­tor­ney David Kon­ick since 2016, it didn’t take long for the lat­est case — Har­ris Hol­low res­i­dent Ge­orge Son­nett’s suit against three Board of Su­per­vi­sors and County At­tor­ney Art Goff — to be dis­missed by Rap­pa­han­nock Cir­cuit Court Judge Jef­frey W. Parker.

The case, which rang in 2019, was dis­missed dur­ing court pro­ceed­ings last Thurs­day af­ter Judge Parker sus­tained one dis­pos­i­tive de­mur­rer.

“We’ll keep chip­ping away at the rest of the cases,” Goff as­sured in an email to county of­fi­cials.

Robert T. “Bob” Mitchell, Jr., a Winch­ester lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the BOS, ap­peared in court Thurs­day for le­gal ar­gu­ments on the de­mur­rers he filed on be­half of the Board and each re­spon­dent board mem­ber, as did coun­sel for Goff on be­half of the county at­tor­ney.

As Mitchell noted later, upon con­clu­sion of the ar­gu­ments Judge Parker sus­tained the de­mur­rers to the en­tire case, dis­miss­ing it with prej­u­dice (mean­ing a case is dis­missed per­ma­nently, as the plaintiff is barred from bring­ing an ac­tion on the same claim).

Mitchell is now tasked with pre­par­ing a Fi­nal Or­der, which he as­sumes will con­clude the case once and for all.

In his Pe­ti­tion for Declara­tory Judg­ment, Son­nett had charged the three su­per­vi­sors and Goff with vi­o­lat­ing the state’s Con­flict of In­ter­est Act (COIA) on sev­eral oc­ca­sions last year when con­sid­er­ing the ap­point­ment of Peter Luke as Deputy County At­tor­ney — iron­i­cally to help han­dle the work­load of pre­vi­ous law­suits filed against the Rap­pa­han­nock County gov­ern­ment.

Son­nett’s pe­ti­tion al­leged that Su­per­vi­sors John Lesin­ski (Hamp­ton), Chris Par­rish (Stonewall-Hawthorne) and Chair Roger Welch (Wake­field) vi­o­lated COIA by not stat­ing “per­sonal in­ter­ests” they had in Luke’s hir­ing.

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