The latest county scandal is grabbing some attention finally.  The short version is that a high level employ of the county in the Office of Information Technology has been busted for bid rigging.  A total of 3 people have been put on leave and one is no longer employed with the county.  Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars are involved.  The figures have not been released.  According to the Chairman of the BOCS, Corey Stewart, in the News and Messenger:


“Employees in the county Information Technology Department allegedly had a relationship with the vendor,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At-Large, on Wednesday. “The allegation is that one of these employees may have awarded a contract or multiple contracts to a vendor with whom he allegedly had a financial relationship or some sort of business relationship.”



This story was first alluded to on April 30, 2009 in the News and Messenger.     The story basically said nothing.  An unnamed supervisor got wind of (an) unnamed employee(s) who was awarding bids of an unnamed amount to unnamed companies.  The Office of Internal Auditor connected the dots to fiscal improprieties. 


Considering that the bid rigging was part of an on-going investigation, it makes sense that neither the county nor Mr. Stewart would comment on the particulars.  However, Greg Letiecq picked up the story.  Interestingly enough, some of his anonymous readers seemed to know quite a bit more than was released in the newspaper.   It makes one question what tales were being told out of school and by whom.  It is even stranger that so far, he has not commented further, even though more information is available.  Was he told he was under a gag order too?


Today’s story in the News and Messenger  adds considerably more information to this tale of intrigue.  The FBI has been brought in to further the investigation.  Their involvement suggests the enormity of the wrong-doing.  Additionally, more than one vendor is likely involved.  The vendors are as culpable as the county employees. 



One significant quote from the article bears highlighting:

 Because the investigation is ongoing, information released to the public has been minimal.

When I tried to find out information several weeks ago, everyone I talked to acted very much like the cat had their tongue.  One friend even said,” we are under a gag order.  I cannot discuss this.”  On the other hand, if one reads other blogs and newspaper comments closely, it appears that confidential information has been rather selectively released to certain individuals but not to the general public.

The more that I read of this malfeasance the more questions seem to be cropping up.  At a time when the county is scrambling for every penny it can find, malfeasance, greed, corruption and plain old theft just seem to not have a place in our government.  The auditors who uncovered the impropriety report to the board chair rather than to the county executive.  This reporting procedure was enacted about a year and half to 2 years ago.  Despite what one might read on other blogs, these auditors are county employees, rather than being outsiders.  Why do they only report to the board chair?


I would like to see a time line, a chronology, as it were, of this ongoing situation.  Who brought the situation to the forefront?  When did they do this?  When was the BOCS chair informed?  When did he contact the police or did the auditors contact the police since criminal activities were involved? 


How will all of this financial indiscretion affect our bond rating?  How will it affect the schools?  How will it affect future funding with grant money?  Who snooped out the information using a FOIA request?  Why did they want to know?


Why do some people with friends in elected positions seem to know more than the general population?



22 Thoughts to “OIT-GATE: Who, What, When?”

  1. ShellyB

    Wow. Interesting, M-H. I’d also like to know why Chairman Stewart wanted a narrative on Greg’s blog posted by Greg Letiecq and his “commenters” (who are just Greg Letiecq with a fake name). What is Chairman Stewart trying to do here? Seems to me every time he wants to do something underhanded, he farms it off to Letiecq. Like the attack on Chief Deane. I can’t think of what it could be. Hard to tie Chief Deane to this one!

    Is this a case of overpaying for shoddy work? Or did this tech company do decent work but it happens that someone was drinking from both troughs? Maybe this is moot as far as the principle is concerned, but for instance Halliburton did NOT do a good job. They overcharged, they accepted billions they can’t account for, and they electrocuted dozens of U.S. soldiers in the shower with shoddy electrical wiring. Also Halliburton did not supply our troops with enough drinking water to maintain their health in the desert. In the end, though, nothing happened to Dick Cheney.

  2. Wendy

    Well, I for one am darn tired of ‘leaks’. Very unprofessional and certainly not in the best interest of the taxpayers particularly if the source inferred is true. We’ve seen this before and it continues to make me wonder if there is something to hide or manipulate.

    Is PWC that sophisticated that our elected officials need “associates”. (In Mafia circles, they are the errand boys, the ones that do the dirty work and are the least respected by the inner circle)

  3. Moon-howler

    ShellyB, I think it is drinking from both troughs.

    I don’t know anything about Chairman Stewart wanting a narrative on the other blog. Fill us in. I have heard nothing.

  4. ShellyB

    Fill you in? I don’t even look at the old blog. I was just speculating as to why Corey Stewart is still using Greg as his “associate” leak man. It seems to me that the TV news stations are just as easily manipulated by our Chairman. What is the purpose of Gospel Greg? Just because he can get 10 people to email his fellow Board members? Haven’t they gotten wise to that trick by now?

  5. Moon-howler

    Maybe Wendy is on to something. I just want to know how all these leaks are occurring in an on-going investigation. Now the FBI is involved, one would think that the rumors would dry up real fast.

    Hmmm…perhaps I answered one of my own questions.

    I find it very upsetting that our county had to shave down services and employees lost their positions, schools had to cut back and increase class size…while some sob is stealing the county blind. Does that not piss everyone off? I don’t want leaks to impede the investigation. If someone is guilty of bid rigging, that is stealing from the people of Prince William County. I want them prosecuted and I want our money back.

  6. Anonymous

    If bid rigging is confirmed, all county agencies should be reviewed for the same. I’ve heard that the same thing is happening in Public Works.

  7. Mom

    “Why do some people with friends in elected positions seem to know more than the general population?”

    I think you’re going to have to give Corey and the BOCS somewhat of a pass on this one. Based on what I’ve seen, these issues were initially brought to select supervisor’s attention by their respective constituents, that is where you are supposed to go if you suspect malfeasance and have evidence that the County Exec’s office is involved or had knowledge of it, isn’t it. Truth is that those allegedly responsible were not the brightest bunch and left a paper trail of invoices and reimbursement requests that any high school researcher could have followed. To do so in area heavily populated by residents with Federal contracting experience wasn’t just stupid but probably suicidal.

  8. Wendy

    I guess so, Mom. I’m just tired of hearing how Corey is in charge of it all, hands on, and forced to deal with idiots, and such but when the shipt sinks he’s now a hero??!! I thought he was Captain of the ship?!

  9. Moon-howler

    Just asking some questions that every PWC resident should be asking. Nothing here as been negatively directed at anyone but thieves and I don’t think any of the BOCS had their hand in the cookie jar.

    There appear to have been leaks by people in the know. I hope they have not compromised the investigation. It is also interesting where they chose to post their ‘insider’ information. The comments made are far more interesting than the story, especially if one choses to read between the lines.

  10. kelly3406

    You definitely piqued my interest with this story, MH — local government definitely offers great opportunity for corruption. It is interesting that Greg L. and you are on the same side of an issue. The only leak apparent to me was the individual placed on administrative leave who was named by a bvbl commenter. The rest of it was just speculation about the political intrigue between the county executive and the BOCS. My guess is that one of the commenters either works for or knows someone that works for the county.

  11. Moon-howler

    Kelly, I would think everyone would be on the same side on this issue. If the insider information is correct and there are millions of dollars missing, we all have the same $$$$$ issues at stake.

    Actually, I am not sure Greg and I are on the same side. He appears to want to blame someone other than the alleged thieves. I hope I am wrong.

  12. Gainesville Resident

    As a PWC resident, I’m truly shocked by this. I hope the appropriate people wind up in jail. You know, I could care less how it was leaked, or whatever. Who cares. The point is, we have some very dishonest people in our county government, who apparently are rigging bids, and so on. I’m glad the information has come out, as a county taxpayer I’m really angry over this.

    And you know, this has nothing to do with Haliburton, for goodness sakes. Stop bringing national politics into it, that has NOTHING absolutely to do with whatever is going on in PWC. Somehow, i doubt PWC issued any contracts to Haliburton! Sheesh!

    Back to the topic on hand, whoever in the county is doing this bid rigging, maybe accepting bribes, handing out stuff to their friends, I hope they land in jail for a very long time and then the only job they can find is mowing lawns or something. Again, let’s leave the national polictics (Cheney/Haliburton/whatever) out of it. That’s really a bit beyond what is necessary.

  13. Gainesville Resident

    I have not read what Greg has to say about this, but doesn’t matter, all I want is to see those responsible in the county gov’t for this brought to justice. Agreed though, if Greg though is saying the county employees who rigged the bids are not to blame, well then I obviously disagree most vehemently. Will have to go read bvbl I guess – been out of pocket the past few days for the holiday weekend.

  14. Gainesville Resident

    MH – I too would like the answers to the following questions you wrote when you put up this thread:

    How will all of this financial indiscretion affect our bond rating? How will it affect the schools? How will it affect future funding with grant money?

    Indeed, could have DISASTROUS consequences for all three of these questions. What a fiasco…

  15. The whole county government needs an outside audit.

    Most governments, agencies and organizations do need audits because unfortunately, some groups more so than others, breed and then try to hide corruption.

    It’s too bad, but human beings seem to need something to keep them honest.

  16. Gainesville Resident

    True enough Pinko, can’t disagree with you there. It’s a sad commentary on the state of things. Indeed, the county is a microcosm of the world. Too much dishonesty that needs someone to look over it to keep it in check. Indeed, the dept. of defense regularly audits defense contractors to keep them on the straight and narrow. Still though, some bad guys slip through that try to bilk the taxpayer out of millions. And then you have the Bernie Madoffs of the world, as well as lovely CEO’s like Bernie Ebbers from Worldcom. I worked there frmo 1999 – 2000 – hated the place – could sense something was rotten there and got the hell out – although was more or less forced to buy Worldcom stock as part of 401K, so that tanked to $0 obviously. Fortunately was only 20 months out of my life and 20 months of retirement savings (well not the entire 401K was in WorldCom stock but something ridiculous like 25% of it).

    Anyway, too bad indeed, we need to spend so much time policing organizations of any kind (as well as individuals) to keep them honest.

    I go back to my original point: throw the book at whoever it is in the county that was participants in this mess. Let them do the perp walk with those nice orange jumpsuits or whatever it is you want to call them.

  17. I agree, Gainesville, that the book be thrown. Unfortunately, those who really have clout and status generally don’t end up in orange suits, as your experience with Worldcom demonstrates.

  18. anona

    “these auditors are county employees, rather than being outsiders. Why do they only report to the board chair?”

    Auditors like this normally do report to a board or a specific board member or committee on the board. This is to protect the taxpayers. They do the same thing with non profits and trade associations. The auditor reports to the elected board of directors rather than the CEO of the trade association because the audit is to protect the members against any criminal activities by the staff including the CEO. To have an auditor reporting to a county executive,school superintendent, city manager or non-profit executive puts the auditor in a difficult position. The paid manager, executive or superintendent is much more likely to sweep things under the rug, threaten the auditor or outright fire them to cover up what happened on his watch. I don’t personally think Craig Gerhardt would ever have done any of those terrible things. He would have taken action once he knew what happened, but in general it is smarter for these types of auditors to report to the boards rather than the executives as just sort of a common sense measure. Also the board is held accountable to taxpayers by election so the auditor is essentially reporting to the people’s representative.

    Some smaller towns and bodies sub this out to an accounting firm, but once an organization or government body gets big enough, it is much cheaper to have the person on staff rather than pay the accounting firm. The board would handle any personal matters relating to the auditor directly, so they would do the hiring, firing, etc. I think the Clerk of the Board is the same type of heirarchy, reporting directly to the board as opposed to the county executive.

  19. Moon-howler

    Thanks for clearing that up. It would seem to me that the paid employees need access to auditors also.

    Maybe I am being obtuse, but it seems to me that there is a problem with auditors reporting to elected officials also. I do not think any of our supervisors are guilty of financial malfeasance. However, in the abstract, it makes as much sense for the elected officials to not be on the up and up and it does the hired help.

    It seems to me there should be a financial governing body made up of supervisor, upper management employee, elected citizen and randomly chosen citizen. (draw name out of a hat or something)to whom auditors reported.

    This is all just bad business. I am sorry it is happening in our county.

  20. anona

    There is usually a separate auditor “within” the system. That person handles matching up transactions in the county in an entirely different role. Sometimes this is also contracted out to an accounting firm. They would be reporting to the head of finance or directly to the County Executive. That would be the person making sure that invoices, accounts payable, etc. were all in order.

    The supervisors as individuals do not handle money. They do not select vendors for example. They only can make decisions as an entire group. So an elected official couldn’t form a company and assign himself a contract. That is why you see that John Jenkins can’t even give $500 to the local baseball team without an entire board vote saying that $500 of his discretionary funds can go towards baseball. There isn’t really a way that a supervisor could “steal” cash from the county except in his expense reports. He could try the same scheme with forming a company and no one knowing but the entire board, not just one supervisor, would have to make the decision to hire his or her company without knowing that one of their own was involved. And the supervisors don’t really assign that many contracts. The staff makes the recommendations, not the board. I guess that is why when local elected officials get in trouble, it is usually because they have resorted to pay to play bribery or faked expense reports (British Parliament) as it is the only way they could use their position to get cash.

    Devious county employees handle vendor contracts which gives them a lot more ways to steal, which is the reason for the auditor. By having one within and one on the outside, you get the most accurate reflection of what is really going on.

  21. Moon-howler

    Great explanation of how it all works. Thanks. That isn’t a subject most people give that much thought.

  22. Wendy

    WEll there are Independant Auditors (KPMG) and Internal.

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