The First (In Line) Family
The story of the year here has been the trial of Virginia’s former governor Robert McDonnell and his zany wife Maureen on public corruption charges; they were both found guilty last week.
McDonnell and family of Fairfax County are of relatively modest circumstances perhaps making the “high life” they found at the governor’s mansion addictive.
The former Guv had a small company with his sister, also named Maureen, which managed beach front property they owned and which was underwater, figuratively if not literally. Â It was called MOBO.
The financially desperate McDonnell’s took bail out loans from a dubious pill huckster, one Jonnie Williams, who flipped when the fat was in the fire.
Williams received immunity from prosecution.
Thus, Santa suddenly became the Grinch.
Once again, the allure of quick riches through real estate speculation leads to disaster.
But While We’re At It
Not content with selling the influence of the office of the governor they proceeded to tap into their sugar daddy’s bottomless pocket for all sorts of goodies.
They accepted a rather low-end ($5K) Rolex, designer dresses, and fancy vacations.
Next-to-worst-of-all, with the cookie jar open, they invited their kids in to gorge themselves on trips, plane tickets, food, golf outings, clubs, gear and more.
Even a soon-to-be-son-in-law scored $10,000.
Love those middle class values.
Worst of All
Governor Bob is convinced he broke no laws.
What an extraordinary position for a former attorney general to take.
The guy once in charge of overseeing employee ethics and accountability thinks all the largesse was just between buddies.
Imagine if all state employees operated using his principles.
What a cesspool it would be.
A “Deep Throat”
Those in the know like to credit former state employee and executive mansion chef Todd Schneider with starting the ball rolling, but that’s not really true.
The first domino to fall was when an anonymous caller made an allegation that Schneider had stolen food from the mansion.
But Schneider, with his own checkered past, had a “special recipe” about the McDonnell’s relationship with Â their private Santa Jonnie Williams.
It made quite a stew.
Back to the McDonnell’s
Schneider said the McDonnell children, adults actually, used to raid the mansion pantry helping themselves to everything from drinks to glasses, pot, pans and even trash bags.
This makes their ready acceptance of the various William’s gifts more understandable as free handouts were the norm if not a birth right.
And, Mama Maureen is not a sympathetic character: Â very unhappy, foul-mouthed and a screamer at staff and her husband.
There is a memorable story from trial testimony where Governor Bob blithely ignores his shrieking wife as he (tried to) watch TV or read the newspaper.
Staff recalled that the governor “could not control his wife.”
That comment implies partnership, if a wacky one.
They and their clan arrived at the Â Governor’s Mansion poised for the high life.
The next stop was a Federal courthouse.