A guest post by Deanna Lewis.
According to a recent review of the The Virginia Public Access Project, Margaret Freund, owner of Fulton Hill Properties, has been donating and raising a lot of cash for former 7th District Councilwoman and current State Delegate, Delores McQuinn.
Ms. Freund is listed as the ‘Top Donor’ for Delores McQuinn for 2009 to date with contributions totaling $3,373 raised at a January 8th 2009 fundraiser. The timing of this event is interesting. McQuinn had already risen to an uncontested seat on the House of Delegates in the January 6, 2009 SPECIAL election. While it is not uncommon for people to step up and contribute to pay for campaign debts after an election, the history of campaign contributions here needs to be examined.
A brief look at Ms. Freund’s and Fulton Hill Properties history of campaign contributions show that $5,373 was donated/raised over a period of 84 days for Delores McQuinn’s run for City Council and State Delegate seat. Ms. Freund’s only other political contributions listed on the VPAP website were to Tim Kaine’s run for Lt. Governor and Governor. Those donations spanned four years from 2001-2005 and were $973 less than what was given to the McQuinn campaigns.
At a time when Ms. Freund’s Oakwood Heights condominium project was under review by the Commission for Architectural Review (CAR), one could surmise that Delores McQuinn was becoming a very important Council Person to Ms. Freund in October 2008. It appears that the subsequent ruling of CAR to reject the Oakwood Heights plan and Ms. Freund’s appeal of CAR’s decision before City Council made Delores McQuinn even more important as a State Delegate in 2009.
State Delegate, Delores McQuinn did lobby City Council members on the developers behalf. Subsequently, City Council overturned CAR’s ruling on Oakwood Heights on February 23, 2009.
The newly appointed Interim City Council 7th District representative Betty Squire specifically cited a letter from Delegate McQuinn, saying that she “chooses to defer to [McQuinn]” when it was her time to rule on the appeal. Squire and other Council members said they voted for the development, in part, because it was endorsed by former Councilwoman Delores McQuinn. Does this chain of events ring as political pandering; satisfying the ignoble ambitions of one, over the protection of the historic fabric of the established Old & Historic areas of Richmond as a whole? You decide.
On Monday, June 15th, City Council’s decision will be challenged in Richmond Circuit Court. This Citizen is hopeful that the rule of law, blind justice if you will, overturns the decision made by City Council on February 23rd.
A guest post by Deanna Lewis. (Have something to share?)