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.

14 Thoughts to “A Meeting with Destiny and Erik Finley”

  1. Need to Know

    Elena – excellent post! Should we copy our posts on this subject in the open thread to here?

  2. From Elena–if you want to. It doesn’t matter. Continue it here.

  3. Steve Thomas

    As a City Resident, I don’t have a dog in a PWC landuse fight, and my knowledge of the particulars is derrived exlusively from the media and blogs. My observation is this is a total goat-rope, or worse, a cluster-gaggle. That the JN&M, MoonHowlings and BVBL all agree that the Finley had been done a disservice, speaks volumes as to how big of a SoupSandwich this situation is.

    1. @Steve,

      That huge power line fight that is brewing might get your dog in PWC land use fights real quickly. It would me if I were a City resident.

  4. Need to Know

    @Steve Thomas

    Good observation. Last summer, Moonhowlings and BVBL were in full and public agreement over Avendale as well. That incident also involved shenanigans, deception and backroom dealings among Corey Stewart, Wally Covington, Brookfield Homes, and various and sundry local land use attorneys and lobbyists. I don’t recall the paper having had the gumption to challenge that one. Advertising revenue from real estate and development people make up too much of their budget, and they don’t want to rock that boat with investigative journalism. However, they are redeeming themselves somewhat here. I challenge them to write also about the role Brookfield Homes, and various and sundry local land use attorneys and lobbyists have played in this scandal.

  5. Need to Know

    @Steve Thomas

    Steve, you do have a dog in this fight if you ever plan to drive on roads in PWC that are increasingly congested from virtually unlimited residential development that comes without the road improvements needed to accomodate the additional traffic.

  6. A Wellington resident asked me to spread the word — Dominion Power is proposing industrial power lines to serve a county data center by Manassas Airport. One route is along Winters Branch (Wellington, Jennie Dean Elementary School, Boys & Girls Club, Dean Park). Open house tomorrow, Wed. Dec. 8 from 5 – 7:30 at the Greater Manassas Rescue Squad on Center Street. Residents and neighbors, come to learn more.

  7. Steve Thomas

    Thanks Cindy. I received an invite for that. Unfortunately, I teach a class on Wednesday evenings.

    Based on the route you describe, and with the 28/Wellington flyover, my sleepy little subdivision’s skyline could get pretty urban if this goes through.

    OT: our Sunday discussion was very productive. If we keep it up, we’ll have to build a Justice League HQ in Manassas.

  8. Raymond Beverage

    I also admired Mr. Finley came in with a “green” concept for the plant – that shows a willingness to (1) invest in the technology which is expensive, and (2) showed he was concerned for the surrounding area. I personally do not buy the line of the technology center (complete with 19 acrea available for a conference center) as that is a field, as tech expands and processes improve, the need for large facilities overall is fast becoming a dinasour.

    Steve, getting pretty urban is right. Officially, 150 square miles of the Greater Prince William Area out of the 350sq. miles is officially “urban”. If you saw the drawing on a map, the two Cities are the “head of the dog” (as I like to call it) and the eastern end is the tail. Plus, since it is key to the “Innovation Park” for the County, and our City Tech Zone out by the airport, we may have to give the devil the dues by having it. Both zones are key to having other than a residential tax base.

  9. Raymond Beverage

    ummmm…my “it” in the #9 post is the power lines. Oh the joys of typing while loopy on cold medicine 🙂

  10. As a resident, I can tell you I feel bad for Mr. Finley, but I don’t want the plant here. Our neck of the woods already smells because we have the recycling facility here. When that comes down wind, you don’t want to be inhaling the morning air. The last thing we need is more odor, pollution, etc., to say nothing of the increased traffic from trucks.

    So okay, even if you don’t think any of that will be a problem, the last thing western PWC needs is more development of any kind. We don’t need an asphalt plant and we certainly don’t need Avondale. We don’t have the infrastructure as it is. Plus, the more we develop, the more natural and historic areas we destroy. Please just leave the land alone. Use whatever buildings and homes are already here. God knows there are plenty of empty houses already!

  11. Wolverine

    Cindy B — Judging from the dustups we have had in Western Loudoun about new power lines marring the landscape and changing the look of communities, you had better arm yourself for a long and drawn out battle over Wellington.

  12. One thing I believe is remarkable about the Finley situation. I have heard the same story consistently, since Elena first talked to him asphalting her neighborhood. Neither the scenery nor the story has changed.

    It sounds like he was the victim of the ultimate bait and switch. I wouldn’t blame him if he put in a pig farm and chicken coops.

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