Friday, March 21, 2014

Charles Records, Gloucester, VA School Board Responds

While I generally do not respond to anonymous writers, I feel it is important to address the accusations made in the story submitted by “Watching in Plain Sight”.  I ran for a seat on the School Board for several different reasons.  I have grown up in Gloucester and graduated from Gloucester High School in 1993.   I have two children that attend Gloucester County Public Schools and I have always had an interest in being involved within my community.  I also have an interest in strengthening programs and policy within the School System.  Additionally, I want to ensure that our operational and capital expenses are being spent as efficiently as possible.  Prior to becoming a School Board member in January 2014, I was actively involved as a citizen in trying to recommend ways the School System could save money, most notably with respect to the construction of the new Middle School.      

It is also important to note, that the accusations made in the referenced story are false.  There are several facts that need to be clarified for the writer.

As I mentioned on many occasions prior to being elected to the School Board, I am a Civil Engineer and I am a Partner in a Local Development and Construction Company here in the County.   Our Company is actively developing a mixed use community in Hayes and building custom homes throughout the County.  My company has filed plans with the Planning Department for the redevelopment of the American Legion property located at Canon Way.  We began working on this project at the beginning of 2012.  The American Legion Property is the project Mr. Meredith referenced my involvement with on March 18th.  These plans were filed with the Planning Department in October 2013 and all of this information is public record.

I am not developing, nor have any other involvement in, the 400 acre property owned by Mr. Corr at the intersection of TC Walker Road and Route 17, or any other property owned by Mr. Corr.

With respect to the Old Page Middle School site, it has not yet been determined what will be done with the property.   I am not “a staunch supporter of selling it”.  I have advocated for looking at all the alternatives that may exist which include public use, private use or a combination of both.  Additionally, I have no personal or business interests in the Old Page Middle School site or any of the property the School Board owns. 

While you are free to have any opinion of me that you would like, I have worked hard to build my reputation and my integrity over the last 20 years.  I am not corrupt and I do not take this accusation lightly.

I would be glad to meet with you, your group or any other citizen of Gloucester County, as I have always made myself available to discuss any issues pertaining to Gloucester County Public Schools.     

Charles Records

Our Notes:  We already sent a response to Mr Records about his comments.  We explained to him that we are not the author, nor part of the group, that shared the information on this site and that we were asked to share the information with both the Board of Supervisors as well as the entire school board.  We thanked Mr Records for taking the time to respond and share his side of the story and welcomed him to provide any further information he deems appropriate.  

  We decided to go back to a joint meeting between the Gloucester BoS and the School Board and look at what was said by both boards and Mr Records for his defense.  Please see the video below.

Now we find it interesting that Mr Records states that he is "NOT" a staunch supporter of selling the old Page Middle School site, however, there seems to be some questions there when we view the video above as to whether or not that is true.  Mr Records sure seems to know a great deal about all the land use of that entire section of the county.  On the other hand, being an engineer, he should.  So Mr Records is dealing with what we call a double edged sword.  If you take his statements, they can be used for his defense and against him as prosecution in our own view.

  But here is what really caught our attention when we watched the video very closely.  Mr Records was not hiding anything from what we could tell.  He seemed very open and honest.  What you have to look at is Mr Hutson next to Mr Records.  He was clearly very agitated.  Why?  Mr Hutson already stated his position on selling that property very clear.  It was also very clear that Mr Chriscoe equally wants that property sold.  Both seem to have some kind of hidden agenda possibly to get that property sold as soon as possible for some special reason.

  In light of what we have seen coming from the one group and Mr Records response to that group, it is our own opinion that Mr Records deserves a pass on any kind of wrong doing or hidden agendas unless some form of concrete evidence can be made.  We can see why the group has made it's references the way in which they did, however, it looks as though the attention may have been focused on the wrong individual with regards to Mr Records.  But that would also seem to focus the spotlights on to both Mr Chriscoe and Mr Hutson.  Why is it that they both want that property sold so badly and to whom?

  We are going to post below, yesterday's comments so that everyone can stay on the same page.  No direct accusations seem to have been made against Mr Records, only that an appearance sure seems to exist and we can see why the connection was made, but do not particularly agree with it at this time.


Continued Corruption in Gloucester CountyVirginia
Gloucester CountyVirginia’s track record of not having many persons interested in serving on the School Board continues to make it easy for the Gloucester County Public School System to be used as a tool to fulfill the interests of a select few with little regard to the effect on the education process.  The Gloucester County School Board has a newly elected member who turns out to be a developer who is involved in the creation of a mixed use development (MUD) at the intersection of T.C. Walker Road and Route 17.  It is about 400 acres of property that is mostly farm fields next to the old Page Middle School and current bus garage property.  Examples of MUD are New Town and High Street inWilliamsburg and City Center in Newport News.  The concept of a MUD like these is to provide a place for people to live, work and play. Successful MUDs are supported by people intense hubs like colleges, universities, high volume tourism, multiple large commercial or industrial businesses, etc.  In essence, the hub of a successful MUD is something that establishes and maintains a constant high volume of people. Gloucester County does not possess such a hub.
According to tax records and School Board meeting minutes; one day prior to the School Board’s December 13, 2011 vote to rebuild PageMiddle School on property known as Tax Map #39-198, Harry Corr purchased all Route 17 road frontage property that connects to the new Page property.  These parcels of land are known as Tax Map #39-198A, Tax Map #39-198B and Tax Map # 39-199.  Tax records reflect that Mr. Corr purchased the three properties for $630,000 which is more than six times the current assessed value.  The value of the property Mr. Corr purchased will substantially increase and the cost to develop it will greatly decrease as a result of improvements to the Route 17 and T.C. Walker intersection and the extension of public water service to that side of Route 17.  These improvements and extensions are part of the Page project and are funded by GCPS and VDOT. (TAX DOLLARS)  This should be raising alarm bells because it appears Mr. Corr possessed insider or advance knowledge of what the outcome of the School Board’s vote was going to be.
Mr. Corr also owns and controls about 400 acres of land that is fronted by Route 17, connects to the old Page Middle School land and connecting Gloucester Public School’s transportation complex, connects to Hickory Fork Road and will greatly benefit from the signalization of the T.C. Walker Road and Route 17 intersection.  This is the property that Douglas S. Meredith, Director of the Gloucester Economic Development Authority pointed out as the location of a currently conceived MUD during his presentation to the Board of Supervisors on March 18, 2014. Mr. Meredith also shared that Charles Records was the developer and elaborated on the value of the old Page and bus complex properties to the MUD.  He also shared that various surveys have been done on Mr. Corr’s property and provided general information on the results.
Charles Records ran uncontested and was elected to the School Board in November 2011.  The same Charles Records who continually asserts how valuable the old Page and bus complex properties are and is a staunch supporter of selling it.  Selling it would mean building a new bus complex at a different location and tearing down the existing and usable buildings. So far this MUD has consumed what would have been a 30 plus million dollar school complex that would have cost the tax payers 10 million dollars.  All that had to be done was follow the insurance company recommendations after the 2011 tornado.  Now Gloucester County tax payers are not only faced with a 20 million dollar lose but also 20 million dollars in unnecessary debt to build the new Page Middle School.  
How much more money are the tax payers of Gloucester County supposed to watch get burned up in Harry Corr’s, Charles Records’ and a select few others’ trash barrel.  What do almost all of the residents of Gloucester get out of what Harry Corr, Charles Records and a few others are doing? Nothing.  Nothing at all.  They just get to watch millions of their tax dollars go towards making a very small number of people rich.  They get to pay unnecessary taxes and fees.  They get to watch their public education system degrade.  They get to watch valuable infrastructure fall apart.  They get to watch and absorb excessive and unnecessary borrowing.  They get to continue to distrust those responsible for operating the County and Public School System.
The high level of corruption that exists within the Gloucester County Public Education System is crystal clear and Charles Records appears to be a willing participant in that corruption and should resign his position on the Gloucester County School Board immediately.
Submitted by:
“Watching Them In Plain Sight”
“Watching Them In Plain Sight” is a non-political citizen based group focusing on identifying and exposing local government corruption, waste and misuse.  We encourage anyone with knowledge of corruption, waste or misuse within Gloucester County’s government or the Gloucester County Public School System to contact us at  Your identity will not be publicly disclosed without your written permission. 


Now we went to the section of the latest meeting that has the information where it seems to us that the Watching Them In Plain Sight group is referring to.  Please watch the video above.  We watched it very closely and found where the guy from the GEDA made a reference that could easily associate Charles Records with potential questionable connections, but under very careful examination, it is our own opinion that Slick Willy there was careless about explaining issues.  It is interesting to note that Mr Records wife is in charge of the local Chamber of Commerce.  We are not saying anything is wrong with that, however, it does give him an added advantage in the business sector.

  What really concerned us here is Slick Willy and the GEDA has not done a very good job of representing Gloucester County at all.  In fact, we have talked to numerous people on this subject and the consensus is unanimous that this guy needs to go.   If you ask us what one of the issues about coming to Gloucester County for doing business is?  We would say dealing with anyone from the Golden Triangle.  In our opinion, the Gloucester Main Street Association, the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and the Cook foundation, the three units that comprise the Golden Triangle, are an issue.

  If you are a Mason then maybe you would want to deal with these folks as they appear to speak that language.  Baal is well represented by the Golden Triangle.  Why these folks are not contacting Masons is a very good question except that the Masonic Decree is that you do not solicit.  You wait to be asked.  Exactly what Slick Willy practices as he has just told us that.  So this guy sits around most of the day doing nothing but waiting to be contacted while taking our tax money?  It has that appearance.

  Another thing that really bothers us about Slick Willy here is that out of over 200 thousand dollars the GEDA receives from "WE THE TAXPAYERS", only one thousand dollars is spent on actively pursuing outside businesses.  That's kind of like saying free drinks on the house and putting out one beer and that's all everyone gets as the free drinks.  One beer to be shared by everyone who shows up, not one beer each.

  Get rid of Slick Willy and take the Golden Triangle out of the mix and then maybe we can start to attract new businesses instead of loosing them.  That's just our opinion.  The Golden Triangle are part of the product we simply can not afford to hang on to.

  On a final note, we must commend the Board of Supervisors for an outstanding job of asking a lot of the right questions and not taking anything at face value.  It turned up a lot of issues and answered a number of questions.  We will even commend Mr Hutson for telling Slick Willy to stop sending out brochures that make the county look bad.  We even pay attention of when things are done right.
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