Special to the Cape Charles Mirror, Ken Dufty of Wardtown responds to the Hogg allegations.
1) Granville owns 30 acres north of the light in Eastville light. It has access from both the road running out to the light, and Route 13.
2.) ESRH approached Granville about buying his property for their new facility (Granville did not approach them first, according to my information).
3) Granville, wanting health services available when the hospital leaves, said he would donate 6 acres to ESRH. Free. No charge. At that time ESRH was saying they needed 6-7 acres.
4) Later, ESRH called Mr. Hogg and said they wanted 12-14 acres. Granville said his land was available, but his “pocketbook” was not that deep, and he would sell his entire parcel, giving cash credit for the 6 acres he said he would donate. He did not want to be left with a smaller parcel that he could never sell.
5) ESRH called back again and said they needed 18 acres. Granville again made the same offer.
6) Upon review of the Hogg parcel, Eastville determined that the Hogg parcel was far superior to the southern parcel, as they could provide services easier, and the parcel could be accessed by turning at the light.
7) During the hearing on the SUP that ESRH sought so they could build the new facility on the lot south of the light (which has no alternative access and would require 2 U-turns for ingress and egress), Hogg was made to leave the dias when the Board was deliberating the ESRH issue. This was the first time we had seen a Supervisor being made to leave the room when other board members were discussing issues in which one of the Board members had a personal interest.
8) The fact remains that there was no ethical violations re: Hogg lobbying for ESRH to buy his property. Ethical violations happen only when you vote on an issue in which you have a personal stake.
9) When Oliver Bennett, in an official meeting of the Board, stumped for a raise for Northampton County teachers, I believe he committed a violation of the Virginia Conflict of Interest Law. He was not chastised by Bruce Jones, and then went on to vote for that raise. When Rick Hubbard, on December 8, 2015 voted on the 2015 zoning, even after he told Leo Kellam and myself that he was in favor of the new zoning because it would allow him to build houses on his property for his children, I believe he committed a violation of the Conflict of Interest Law. Note that it does not matter according to this law whether you voted in favor or against an issue: if you had a personal stake in it, you cannot vote on it. Bruce Jones did not make either of these Supervisors leave the room while the issue was being discussed, and remained silent while both voted for an issue in which they had a personal and real interest.
10) There is something wrong here, and it appears to this writer that perhaps Mr. Hogg was (and is) being targeted for this campaign of harassment by county personnel because of his swing vote and position on the 2015 zoning. Was he being coerced to vote a particular way on the 2016 ordinance by holding this straw man charade over his head? If that was the case, this possible coercion (if it DID happen, and I have no information to believe that it did…) is far more serious than a businessman lobbying (not voting!) to sell a piece of property that clearly is far more superior from a public safety perspective than the parcel submitted for consideration.
11). As for the “annonymous” letter to the CCM….it has all the tone and hallmarks of something that could be written on Northampton County letterhead, as it is clear after watching the disrespect that was shown to the Supervisors by the EMS team last Tuesday night that the order of the day is to adamant disrespect for our elected leaders by staff and employees of this county. Obviously this public assault on our elected leaders (who PAY the EMS team with OUR dollars) would not have unfolded the way it did if the County Administrator did not set the stage for such a performance….or at least it appears that way to me.
12) It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the County Administrator and even the county’s legal team are not on the same public-interest page as the majority of the Board of Supervisors. Indeed, it appears to this writer as if they are setting the majority of the new Board up for failure, especially given the budget requests that are far more excessive than they were last year (an election year!), and these requests would probably not have rolled in if told by the County Administrator to hold the fiscal line. Obviously the Board will come under great fire by those requesting raises and more public spending when the Board is forced to trim the fat from the draft budget, when indeed the ire should be aimed squarely at the County administrator who has worked the wheel while this county’s vehicle rockets full steam ahead off a fiscal cliff. Wish you couldn’t write it, but the ink is indelible.