Call it fate, destiny, coincidence, whatever word you like, but sometimes life is just too bizarre. I met Erik Finley a few years ago during a paving job Finley Asphalt was hired to do for my community. I can tell you, from first hand experience, he, and his company are top notch. They are what makes small business America the best in the world. He and other small business owners like him ARE the backbone of our economy. The treatment he received from Corey, his office, and Wally was unconscionable.
It was happenstance that Erik and I ended up talking. Here is what Erik shared with me and his story, in three years, has remained consistent.
Somehow, the foreman and I began discussing PWC politics and county government, one topic lead to another and he asked if I would be willing to talk with Erik who was having some issues with the county. I said, “sure, I would love to”.
Shortly thereafter, Erik and I talked. What I realized was that Corey had worked his magic. For those of you who do not know Corey personally, he is truly charismatic, funny, and a great guy to hang out with. THIS is Corey’s talent. He makes you think that he is on ‘your” side, a friend, when really, the only side Corey is on, is his own.
Anyway, Erik had been hoping to expand his business in Prince William County, he was introduced to Corey through a mutual friend, you know, one of those soccer dad conversations, a casual discussion between acquaintances. So he met Corey and was really impressed, not surprised I might add. Corey is great for first impressions, especially one on one. Corey went on and on about how his new focus was building a more positive relationship with the “business community”. Remember, he had steadily been dissing his land use base and immigration was now the “mantle” he had chosen to wear.
Erik did give money to Corey’s campaign, but it was when Corey was going to run for a State office, you know, that whole Lieutenant Governor thing that fell through. Corey had been saying how PWC needed to be represented at the state level better. Erik fell for it and donated 10 grand. There was nothing inappropriate as some people may have alluded to, it was simply believing that Corey was a good guy and had the interest of PWC at heart and was willing to “fight” for his constituency. Yeah, heard that before haven’t we! Now since he can’t go state he wants to go national….but I digress.
So, to make a long story short, Erik ends up visiting Corey’s office, only he meets with Gary Friedman, who, at the time, was Corey’s chief of staff (or some title thereof). Erik is shown a map and directed to the industrial area where, really, only the hornbaker property will work. It had just been recenty REZONED to heavy industrial. Now, one must ask themselves, if the BOCS was SOOOO concerned about innovation, WHY did they rezone this land heavy industrial??????
What you may find interesting is the land that Finley bought was owned by a man that had a financial connection to the Avondale property. Interesting isn’t it. Finley gets denied, a properly zoned parcel of land, requiring only a very standard special use permit while Avonedale, requiring a Comp Plan Amendment is approved. Hmmm, just kinda makes one wonder, is there more to this story.
I can tell you, Erik Finley is what makes Prince William County a special place. He grew up here, has raised his family here, and employs local residents. HE is the kind of business man our BOCS should be lifting up, not dragging down. The asphalt plant would have provided consistent jobs AND tax revuneu, something this county desperately needs.
Erik Finley is a good man, and Corey, along with Wally, not only screwed PWC out of an important commercial revenue, they screwed a decent human being.