Thursday, March 20, 2014

Continued Corruption in Gloucester County, Virginia

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 in Williamsburg 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 Page Middle 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 2013.  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. 
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