HOLMBERG: Gov. Bob McDonnell’s catering scandal sizzles, but who’s cooking?
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–The scandal involving who paid for the catering for the governor’s daughter’s wedding at the mansion is a juicy one.
The question is why is all this coming out now, two years after the ceremony?
Gov. Bob McDonnell may not have broken the law, but it was definitely shady when a big-time campaign donor and friend paid $15,000 for catering for his daughter’s spring 2011 wedding and the governor didn’t declare the gift.
His excuse that the gift was for his daughter, and not for him – and therefore wasn’t required to be reported by law – stinks like an old shrimp platter.
The Washington Post obtained the caterer’s records of the event, complete with handwritten revisions of the catering contract signed by the governor. The Post also reports that a $3,500 refund on the total catering bill went to McDonnell’s wife.
It gets uglier. The deep-pocketed donor, Jonnie Williams and Star Scientific Inc. of Glen Allen, staged a product launch party for its Anatabloc anti-inflammatory cream at the Governor’s Mansion shortly after the wedding. This company and its owner donated $120,000 to McDonnell’s campaign, the Post reported.
This is McDonnell’s first big gaff, and it’ll linger, following him if he runs for the a Senate seat or higher office.
But let’s back up. Who leaked the catering records to the Washington Post and why? And why now?
The catering firm is a private company, so the Post couldn’t demand the records via a Freedom of Information Act request.
The company was Seasonings Fine Catering and Event Planning.
The owner, Todd Schneider, was the chef at the governor’s mansion who was fired last year – you may recall – when it was announced that that he was being investigated by the state police and the feds for taking couple of hundred dollars’ worth of food from the mansion to use in his business. (Since when, by the way, does the state police announce someone is being investigated?)
That chef was just recently indicted for his alleged embezzlements. He had a solid reputation and is absolutely mortified by his arrest. Would he want more bad publicity by being tied to this scandal?
And if it’s not him leaking – who was it? An investigator, a prosecutor – a connected politician?
Let’s look at the damage – who’s getting hurt
First we have the chef who had a great resume, having worked for both political parties.
Then there’s Governor Bob McDonnell.
And all this started over a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of missing food?
Yes, this is a sizzling little scandal. But who’s doing the cooking?